The dried apricots swell and soften with the Moroccan-spiced juices of the roasting lamb. Ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice mix available at upscale grocery stores or Middle Eastern markets. You can make your own blend, if you like: Whisk together 1 tsp. each ground cardamom, coriander, ginger, and turmeric; 1/2 tsp. each freshly ground black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and saffron (optional); and 1/4 tsp. each ground allspice, cloves, and mace.
1 boneless leg of lamb (4 to 5 lbs.) butterflied and trimmed of excess fat
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 small onions, roughly chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
Unfold lamb, rinse, and pat dry. Slash 1/2-in.-deep cuts about 1 in. apart all over both sides of lamb. Season all over with 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Put in a baking dish just large enough to hold meat when unfolded.
Pour 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup olive oil into a blender; add onions, garlic, ras el hanout, and remaining 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Pulse to blend into a loose paste and pour over lamb. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to 1 day. Let lamb come to room temperature before grilling, about 45 minutes.
Prepare a gas grill for indirect heat: Turn all burners to high and close lid. When temperature reaches 325° to 350°, turn off one of the burners, creating an indirect heat area, and adjust burners to maintain temperature. Or preheat oven to 325°.
Wipe marinade off lamb and arrange apricot halves in a single layer over meat, leaving about a 1/2-in. border on all sides. Roll up meat jelly-roll style and tie tightly with kitchen twine. Trim off ends of twine. Rub lamb with remaining olive oil. If cooking on grill, oil grill well with oil-soaked paper towels.
Grill lamb over indirect heat area or roast in oven, set in a V-rack in a large roasting pan. Cook meat, turning over once halfway through, until an instant-read thermometer registers 140° for medium-rare, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Let lamb rest, covered with foil, 15 to 20 minutes. Slice and serve.
Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
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I cooked this in the oven. It was good but not fantastic as I had hoped. I made a sauce with the marinade making sure to boil it for a short time to kill any bacteria. I added salt, light cream and plain yoghurt to the marinade and then used an immersion blender to make a smooth sauce. The sauce got more delighted comments than the lamb!
Have tried this grilled and in the oven. Great recipe. Always a winner with the guests. The only time it came out less than perfect was when I cheaped out on the apricots. Stick with Blenheims and take the credit for the great lamb.
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