When I left San Francisco to move to Vermont I left behind my terrible sea-air-corroded grill on my fire escape. My first purchase in my new home was a shiny new grill. I was thrilled because grilling is my favorite way to cook. So of course I get into all of the holidays that are about grilling: Memorial Day, Labor Day, July 4th and Father's Day.
This year we included six grill-roasting recipes in our May/June issue of EatingWell that are awesome. The idea of grill roasting is that you cook your food on the grill over indirect heat rather than over searing flames. Why do this? It allows you to cook big thick roasts or whole birds without scorching them on the outside and leaving them raw inside. It takes a little while, but you end up with perfectly cooked, juicy meat that has a touch of smoky grill flavor. Plus since you're cooking a big piece of meat it means you can serve a crowd-perfect for a party. It's a fabulous technique. If you do decide to do it, check out our 8 Tips for Foolproof Roasting on the Grill.
Here's a diagram of how grill roasting works:
Indirect Heat: Gas Grill
Indirect Heat: Charcoal Grill
Anyway, as I said, the 6 grill-roasting recipes turned out really well, but the one that is hands-down the best is the Middle Eastern Roast Lamb with Tahini Sauce (see recipe below). This recipe was inspired by the meat you get in a shawarma sandwich. The lamb is rubbed with spices, grill-roasted, and then served with a garlicky-tahini and yogurt sauce. Wrap up the lamb and sauce in a lavash with some tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and feta and you have just stepped up Father's Day to a whole new, totally delicious, gourmet level. I'm not sure what you'll do next year to top it. But be forewarned that you may not be able to go back to sausages, burgers and dogs after trying this recipe. (You could try one of our other grill-roasting recipes, such as Beer-Barbecued Chicken, or for more inspiration, try a recipe from our collection of delicious Father's Day recipes.)
Here's the recipe:
Middle Eastern Roast Lamb with Tahini Sauce
ACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes | TOTAL TIME: 4 1/2 hours (including 2 hours marinating time)
8 medium cloves garlic, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground mace
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 4-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied and trimmed (see Tip)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup tahini (see Tip)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
6 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt, preferably Greek-style
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Mince 6 garlic cloves. Place in a small bowl with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and mash into a paste using the back of a spoon. Stir in oil, mace, cardamom, paprika, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne until combined.
2. Open lamb so it's flat, with the cut side up. Spread three-quarters of the spice paste over the cut surface. Roll the lamb closed and tie in several places so it is about the shape of a large football. Spread the remaining paste over the outside. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
3. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves. Combine with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl with lemon juice, tahini, parsley, yogurt, water and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. About 20 minutes before you are ready to grill, preheat a gas grill (with all burners lit) to 400°F or build a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400°F).
5. If using a gas grill, turn off one burner (leaving 1 to 2 burners lit, depending on your grill). If using a charcoal grill, move the coals to one side. Place the lamb on the unheated side of the grill rack. Close the lid and roast undisturbed for 30 minutes.
6. Rotate the lamb 180 degrees, cover and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 140°F (for medium-rare) to 145° (for medium), 20 to 40 minutes more. Transfer to a clean cutting board; let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with the tahini sauce.
Makes 12 servings.
Per serving: 257 calories; 14 g fat (3 g sat, 7 g mono); 76 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrate; 27 g protein; 1 g fiber; 551 mg sodium; 377 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Zinc (32% daily value), Iron & Vitamin C (15% dv).
- Have your butcher "butterfly" a boneless leg of lamb (that is, open it up to a large, flat cut of meat); ask that any visible fat be trimmed off.
- Tahini is a thick paste of ground sesame seeds. Look for it in large supermarkets in the Middle Eastern section or near other nut butters.
By Jessie Price
EatingWell deputy food editor Jessie Price's professional background in food started when she worked in restaurant kitchens in the summers during college. She started out testing recipes for EatingWell and then joined the staff here full-time in 2004 when she moved to Vermont from San Francisco.
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