Masterchef

Spice up your Christ­mas spread with this boldly flavoured and re­fresh­ing take on a tra­di­tional roast lamb from MasterChef win­ner Sashi Che­liah.

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Sashi Che­liah brings the spice.

I CAN’T IMAG­INE a cel­e­bra­tion without spices, and Christ­mas is my favourite end-ofyear cel­e­bra­tion. I want you to en­joy this fes­tive sea­son as much as me, so I’ve cre­ated an amaz­ing In­dian-in­spired roast lamb with roast veg­eta­bles and a beau­ti­ful yo­ghurt and mint dress­ing. I love strong flavours, so I’ve given this Christ­mas clas­sic an In­dian twist. It’s ro­bust in flavour and the spices re­ally el­e­vate the dish.

This recipe is great for a fam­ily or to serve at a din­ner party of 4-6 peo­ple. The only catch is that you’ll need to pre­pare the lamb the night be­fore and make sure you have all the spices at home.

The lamb is mar­i­nated in a med­ley of spices with a yo­ghurt base. This ten­derises the meat so it re­tains more mois­ture while cook­ing. When you take the gor­geous piece of lamb from the fridge, be sure to score it so it ab­sorbs the mari­nade.

Cook­ing the lamb slowly makes it ten­der and al­lows time for the bold spices to im­part their flavours into the meat. Roast­ing makes the flavours more in­tense and guar­an­tees ten­der­ness. The com­bi­na­tion of mint and yo­ghurt cre­ates a re­fresh­ing con­trast to the lamb, and the roasted veg­eta­bles are driz­zled with the drip­pings from the lamb.

Do try this dish, en­joy the fes­tive sea­son and haul out a bot­tle of wine as well!

SPICED ROAST LAMB LEG SERVES 4-6

Be­gin this recipe at least 4 hours ahead. You will need a meat ther­mome­ter.

2.9kg lamb leg (bone in)

1/4 cup (60ml) ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 500g baby pota­toes, halved 2 bunches heir­loom baby car­rots

(sub­sti­tute Dutch baby car­rots) 600g Jap pump­kin, cut into 3cm wedges 1 red onion, cut into wedges 4 gar­lic cloves, un­peeled 8 thyme sprigs, leaves picked 1 cup (280g) Greek yo­ghurt 1/ 2 bunch mint, leaves picked, finely chopped, plus ex­tra leaves to serve 1 tsp ground cumin

IN­DIAN SPICE MARI­NADE

4 gar­lic cloves, crushed 5cm piece (25g) ginger, finely grated 1 tbs garam masala (In­dian spice mix) 2 tbs ground co­rian­der 2 tsp each ground cumin, ground turmeric

and ground chilli pow­der 1 bunch mint, leaves and stems finely

chopped, plus ex­tra leaves to serve 1 cup (280g) Greek yo­ghurt 11/ 2 tbs ex­tra vir­gin olive oil

For the mari­nade, com­bine all in­gre­di­ents and 1/ 2 tsp salt flakes in a bowl.

Score lamb at 3cm in­ter­vals and rub all over with mari­nade. Cover and chill for 2 hours to overnight. Stand at room tem­per­a­ture for 30 min­utes be­fore roast­ing.

Pre­heat oven to 200°C. Grease 3 bak­ing trays and line with bak­ing pa­per. Place lamb on 1 pre­pared tray, driz­zle with 1 tbs oil and roast for 15 min­utes. Re­duce oven to 180°C. Roast lamb for a fur­ther 1 hour 5 min­utes, or un­til in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture at the thick­est part is 54°C on ther­mome­ter. Rest for 15 min­utes.

Mean­while, 30 min­utes into lamb cook­ing time, com­bine potato, car­rot, pump­kin, onion, gar­lic, thyme and re­main­ing 2 tbs oil in a bowl. Spread across pre­pared trays and roast for 1 hour 5 min­utes or un­til ten­der.

To make the dress­ing, com­bine yo­ghurt, mint, cumin and 1/ 2 tsp salt flakes in a bowl.

Place lamb and veg­eta­bles on a serv­ing plat­ter, scat­ter with ex­tra mint and driz­zle with some yo­ghurt and mint dress­ing.

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