Harissa Roasted Lamb

Moroccan Dinner-lamb

One more summer adventure to tell you about and then I’ll be done. I can then get down to some serious pumpkin cooking and baking….not. I’m glad to see though that the pumpkin craze is a bit milder this year. Honestly, how many dishes can you really destroy with pumpkin before people revolt? OK, OK, I’ll stop with the pumpkin negativity πŸ™‚ I know there are people who wait all year for this season and I don’t want to ruin it for them.

Custom Vent Hood

Their beautiful kitchen with new cabinets, range hood and Thermador appliances

The last fun event I was fortunate enough to attend and work, was a dinner that was sponsored by Specialty Appliance, and Kitchens by Wedgewood. I had the fortune to be asked to cater the dinner and the event. The purpose of the dinner was so our clients could welcome their guests to the newly remodelled kitchen where they could admire the new cabinetry, the Raw Urth range hood and the new Thermador appliances in action.


This could be my cookbook photo?

I supplied the action, and the dinner, of course. It was pretty nerve wracking to take over someone else’s brand new kitchen to cook a whole dinner! However, the clients were so wonderful and put me at ease and I went about doing what I do best (amongst other things πŸ™‚ ), cooking.

Moroccan Dinner-8

Raw Urth range hood, this is an absolutely beautiful work of art and functionality.

I had met with the hosts of the dinner beforehand so we could discuss what kind of menu appealed to them and what kind of food they’d like to serve that evening. They are really laid back and casual and a fun couple. They have such a beautiful home up in the mountains by Boulder Canyon.

Moroccan Dinner

We decided on a Moroccan inspired menu and I set about making a menu. Since Morocco has such a strong French influence, I used a lot of French inspiration with a Moroccan twist. Rather than write, I’ll let the photos show most of the evening.

Moroccan Dinner

The recipe I want to share today happens to be the Harissa Roasted Lamb I made for the dinner. However, the lamb made that evening was made on the rotisserie that’s a feature available in the oven they purchased. It was quite a sight! And took no longer than a regular oven to cook.Β 

Moroccan Dinner

Not everyone has rotisseries in their ovens so the lamb I’m posting today is cooked in a regular oven. It comes out just as juicy and tender as the rotisserie version; you just don’t get the show.

Moroccan Dinner-

Harissa Roasted Lamb

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 10-12 servings

Juicy and succulent leg of lamb roasted with Ras el Hanout spices and Harissa.
  1. The lamb can be marinated the night before and refrigerated.
  2. Unroll the boneless leg of lamb and lay flat.
  3. Smear half the Harissa paste on the inside of the lamb, sprinkle with half of the Ras El Hanout spices,
  4. add pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Flip the lamb over and repeat on the top side.
  6. Roll the lamb back up and tie neatly to form a uniform roll.
  7. Place in the fridge overnight or at least 4 hours.
  8. Before roasting, pull out the lamb from the fridge and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
  10. Place the lamb on a rack in a baking sheet or roasting tin.
  11. Add a temperature probe and set for desired doneness.
  12. Place in the oven and roast.
  13. For a 4Β½ pound piece of lamb, it takes about 20 minutes a pound for rare and 30 minutes a pound for medium.
  14. It took me about 90 minutes to get a nice pink medium.
  15. In the rotisserie, the lamb turned beautiful golden brown by itself while rotating.
  16. In the oven, in the last 15 minutes, turn up the oven to 500F/220C to get a nice, crispy brown outside.
  17. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing into thick slices.
  18. Serve with Harissa vinaigrette if desired, or this herb sauce
You can use a bone in leg of lamb and just cut slits in the meat and smear in some harissa and then cover the leg all over with more harissa and Ras el Hanout. Your cooking time will vary of course.
The chermoula sauce that was used to marinate the Herb Grilled Chicken goes wonderfully with this lamb as well.
I used the last of my homemade harissa on this lamb and bought some extra from Whole Foods, which is quite excellent. You can either make your own or buy a jar.

As you might remember, I’m not a fan of lamb at all….and I mean, at all. Lately though, I’ve been making lamb for my dinner parties because everyone else in my family enjoys it and this way, most of it gets eaten. Everyone raves about it so I guess it’s good, I, however, will never know, and that’s all right by me!

For you lamb lovers out there, try this, it really is good, juicy and tender with a lovely hit of spice.

Moroccan Dinner

Appetisers: roasted grapes in balsamic, whipped Feta dip and Merguez meatballs (not shown)

On the topic of dinner parties, I am a little curious of dinner party etiquettes that I know exist and that I’m quite sure I follow. I was just wondering what you guys think they are? First off, I must say that in this day and age, I don’t expect anything from anyone. It just seems that’s the society we’ve become.Β 

Moroccan Dinner Nazneen-1

I don’t expect a “hello” from the friends of my daughters that come through my door for whatever reason, I don’t expect a “thank you” when I drop them off home at times, I don’t expect a RSVP unless I hunt one down, I don’t expect a “thank you” email or text after a party I’ve hosted and I certainly never expect a hostess gift when I host a party. I may be wrong to not expect general courtesies, but I’m tired of being disappointed so I just don’t care now.

Moroccan Dinner

Butternut squash and sweet potato salad, vegetable tagine, couscous with preserved lemons and almonds

This doesn’t mean that I have taught my children to do the same, no. They are always to hold a conversation and to always be courteous and polite with all adults, especially their friends’ parents, and I’m glad to say they do. This is probably why they are the favourites of those parents.Β 

I always RSVP and send a thank you email, text or phone call. I never turn up at a party empty handed, but maybe this is just me. Your turn to chime in. What do you think is the expectation?

  1. Yum, this is my new favorite way to make lamb! I tried it last night. The only thing that went wrong was when I turned the oven up to 500F at the end, the netting I had around the lamb (which came with it, I didn’t make my own ties) caught on fire, and all the lovely lamb fat collecting in the pan scorched too. πŸ™ So maybe only 400 or 450 would be better for finishing. The lamb itself was unhurt, by the way, since I pulled it right out of the oven when the fire happened, and turned the oven back down to 400 for the rest of the time.

    Flavor-wise, the harissa added a juicy tang to the lamb but wasn’t overwhelming. We love spicy in our household and this was not fiery, just pleasant. I used canned harissa, by the way: a 5 oz can was just right to cover the inside and outside of the lamb. I would not hesitate to serve this to my fanciest and most talented of foodie friends, it was so unusual and delicious. Can’t wait to have the leftovers tonight.

  2. This is the first time I am visiting your blog. I love it! I will definitely be back. This roasted lamb and dinner side dishes are divine.

    I would never show up at anyone’s home for a meal without something to express my appreciation. I text, send email or whatever to ensure that they are thanked for their hospitality. I would like to believe that I have taught my children the same.


  3. You are too much, Nazneen. Not only do bravely cook for a dinner party in someone else’s home & kitchen but you serve a main that you do not like in the slightest. Now that’s bravery! Everything was presented so well. I hope the hosts and guest lavished you with the praise you so deserved.
    I promise that if you invite me to dinner, not only will I RSVP in a timely fashion but I’ll send a lovely “Thank You” note, too. (Mom raised me right.) You needn’t serve lamb either. I’m sure that whatever you prepare will be wonderful. πŸ™‚
    ChgoJohn recently posted..It’s Columbus Day!My Profile

    • Hey John, thank you! They were very appreciative and grateful so all was well! I would definitely invite you over, and I know I don’t have to worry about RSVPs, thank youy’s or phone calls with you πŸ™‚

  4. Nazneen it’s so nice to finally see your photo and yes the first one would be great on your own cookbook (who knows right?) What a kitchen too, so lucky to cook there. =)
    and I can see you used the space well with such a gorgeous food result. I can literally smell the lamb roast here just by looking at the juicy meat pieces.

  5. Party etiquettes, where do I start? Everyone has echoed the exact sentiments I have towards general courtesy. RSVP on time, arrive with a token (on time!) and thank you notes are a must! It’s not easy to host a party and expressing gratitude doesn’t cost a thing πŸ™‚

    On the side note, you are one gorgeous hostess!!
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com recently posted..Creamy Coconut KheerMy Profile

  6. one of thing in our culture is showing up late to parties and RSVP – no one even bothers. Its really frustrating that I have to deal with relatives like that. I dont know if its the food blogger in me or just things we did while growing up, I like to take dessert preferably or a something when I go to peoples house. It’s such a nice gesture and thankfully my friends (most of them at least) are great at thankyou texts and small gestures.
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health recently posted..Acai Bowl with Berries, Almonds, and Toasted CoconutMy Profile

  7. It’s so fun to see you in action!! You are beautiful and I love your smile. πŸ™‚ I was raised to be very polite at all times, but it wasn’t tradition in my circles to bring something with you to someone’s house. Since moving to Australia I’ve learned that it is important to bring something with you, so I’m learning a new habit. πŸ™‚
    Krista recently posted..Roasting Peppers and A Farm BreakfastMy Profile

    • Hi Krista! oh my gosh, thank you so much, ***blushing*** Maybe that’s it? It’s not common in their respective families so they don’t do it? I was brought up in an Eastern family where hospitality is key whether you are the host or guest. Interesting.

  8. ” I don’t expect a RSVP unless I hunt one down” – seriously, this is so true. I thought I was the only one with that problem. I often wonder about people who throw grand parties and seem to have guests in abundance. How do they manage to do it?

    You’re right about not wanting to be disappointed, so just stopped expecting. Idk where people’s manners have gone. But just like you, I try to instill manners in my children and TRY to make sure they’re considerate and thoughtful of others. Oh, and I always RSVP! πŸ™‚

  9. I’m with you on the pumpkin front!! I don’t get the endless fascination with 1001 things to do with pumpkin at this time of year. What a gorgeous kitchen to cook in – I bet everything you made was amazing. Hope you got some help with all the washing up though?
    Nancy@plusatesix recently posted..Long time no see…My Profile

  10. You have every right to expect party courtesies as well, a thank you never goes astray but it is so surprising how many people don’t bother anymore! I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a grizzly 90 year old but it is true πŸ˜› My parents brought me up to always say thank you, hello and goodbye to guests and converse politely!
    I hope your party was an awesome success, though with such incredible dishes, how could it not be right?

    Choc Chip Uru
    Choc Chip Uru recently posted..β€œToo Much Fun” HangoverMy Profile

  11. How wonderful Nazneen to be cooking in such a fancy kitchen! I can imagine how gorgeous all your food might have been (all of them look amazing). About etiquettes, I cannot stress more with my kids because I believe in them (always have) and yes, expect too. I guess I have been lucky so far to be surrounded by great people.
    I absolutely LOVE lamb and harissa! This is the lamb dish for me.
    Sugar et al. recently posted..Chocolate Covered Lemon Meringue TrufflesMy Profile

  12. I believe in good old-fashioned manners where you also say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and my mother always said, ‘when you turn up to someone else’s home you’ll knock with your elbows because your hands will be full’. What a beautiful kitchen and how lovely for you to be able to host a dinner party for them to celebrate the renovation. The meal looks amazing. But what are you feeding those lambs? Here you would never see a 9kg leg of lamb. The biggest would be around 2.5kgs xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..Coriander Corn FrittersMy Profile

    • Haha! Charlie, thanks for pointing out my error! I did my maths wrong, it is 2.5kg. I swear, I was typing this out whilst toothpicks kept my eyes open! I obviously didn’t pay attention to my conversion πŸ™‚ Thanks for catching it! Though, in the US, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were 9kg lamb legs!!!

      • Hi Nazneen, I’m so sorry about my silly comment. Like you, I was bleary-eyed from just waking up and I didn’t look at your imperial measurements. If I had, I would have realised that your lamb wasn’t the size of a horse! Conversions are very confusing xx
        Hotly Spiced recently posted..Coriander Corn FrittersMy Profile

  13. What a fabulous, amazing selection of dishes you made. The hosts must have been delighted. The harissa lamb sounds amazing and I bet is very delicious and juicy. I don’t expect a hostess gift but I’d be dissapointed if I wasn’t thanked after a dinner party by text or email. It’s polite and a kindness to tell people how much you enjoyed their company and appreciate the time they put into making a happy meal. GG

    PS For some reason your reminder emails had started to go to junk mail. I’ve retrieved them and hopefully I’ll be aware when you post in future. So sorry for my absence. x
    Glamorous Glutton recently posted..Review – Chicken The New Classics By Marcus BeanMy Profile

  14. So many things to say after reading this… where to start? The lamb (I am the opposite of you – lamb’s biggest fan!) looks amazing, but the roasted grapes really, really appeal to me. Are you going to post them?

    I like the other photo of you for your cookbook – I love your smile! When is the book coming out?

    Etiquette. Wow, I am such a hug proponent of etiquette and courtesy. Not satisfied to send an email, or sometimes even a phone call, I make and send thank you cards to my hosts. And I am proud to say that my brothers taught all my nieces and nephews the same. We call them ‘bread & butter’ notes. We send them for dinners, gifts, special favors that have been done for us…

    When I go to someone’s home, I enjoy taking something I know they will love… some fresh tomatoes form the farmers market… a homemade jam, jelly, or condiment… flowers (but in a vase or a plant, so the host/hostess doesn’t need to stop what he/she is doing to find a vase and arrange flowers)…

    Yet, while I enjoy being courteous, I have also come to realize it is not always a two-way street. I am fortunate that most friends do bring wonderful gifts when they visit, send notes or emails of thanks, and are truly grateful for whatever I have created.

    Have a wonderful week! xo
    David recently posted..Extreme Brownies: Extremely Good! {a book review}My Profile

    • I love your comments David, you are a sweetheart!! The book is non existent at the moment, but I’ll work on it, we’ll see πŸ˜‰ I will use the other photo then πŸ™‚ Now, I really want to invite you to dinner or something so I can get one of your handmade cards! How wonderful are you??

  15. What a pretty kitchen! And spectacular dish. I love harissa, and I love lamb. So of course I love this recipe! As far as everyday courtesies, of course one still should do them. Not to RSVP is just rude. As is not thanking someone after they’ve made you dinner. People don’t do this as often as they used to, but they should. IMO, of course.
    John@Kitchen Riffs recently posted..Italian Meat Sauce for PastaMy Profile

    • Thanks John! It is a beautiful home and a a gorgeous kitchen. You’ll like this lamb if you like Harissa! I totally agree with you, we should all be polite more often!

  16. Yay, another Harissa recipe for my collection. What a beautiful party. Congratulations. Don’t get me started about etiquette. I never arrive empty handed, always send a thank you note, and what’s up with the RSVP thing? I host a lot of classes for my job where food is involved. The number of people who show up that don’t RSVP is amazing, or those who RSVP and don’t show. Total lack of respect.
    Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) recently posted..Breakfast Burrito with Green Chile SauceMy Profile

    • Thank you, Lea Ann! I don’t know where our manners have gone. I knew that food bloggers and my food blogger friends would know the etiquette but I think it’s to do with how no one cooks or invites anyone over. If you do entertain, you know what it takes and so you are conscious of that time when someone invites you. I’m glad I have good friends though.

  17. I agree with your party etiquette Nazneen – I, too, never show up empty handed, and I always RSVP and send out a thank you! They might be little curtsies – but they mean so much! I do expect a hello and a thank you from my daughter’s friends when they come over or I drop them off, and so far, I haven’t been disappointed. I am so intrigued by this harissa and Ras El Hanout spice roast – you think it would work with chicken too?
    Shashi @ runninsrilankan recently posted..Pepper Pasta with Spicy Pumpkin Cashew SauceMy Profile

    • General courtesies Shashi. Where did our manners go? It’s unbelievable really. My favourite roast chicken is Harissa Roasted Chicken, I have it on my blog from last year I think. It is SO GOOD!

  18. It is very rare that I will turn up at someone else’s house for dinner without a bottle of wine or a dessert or a loaf of homemade sourdough etc. Not because of etiquette or expectation though, just because I know how much I appreciate it (but don’t expect it) when we have people over for dinner and they do the same. It’s just nice! I am very impressed by the oven with the rotisserie and that spectacular range hood – what a kitchen! Are you feeling the need for an upgrade in your own kitchen after using all those awesome appliances?!