May 19, 2011

Me Tarzan, you eat???

For something a little different, why not try out this very strange but uber yummy way to roast lamb. It's called a Tarzan Roast, you'll see why :)

Thanks a whole bunch to Justin Bonello from CookedinAfrica for this recipe, we just added/took away one or two things here and there.

*sorry for any vegetarians or vegans out there!*

about a 2 ½ kg fatty leg of lamb, with the shank intact – very important (which feeds +-10 people)
a sprig of rosemary
10-15 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half
3-4 bunches of spring onions
a handful of dried oregano
2 onions, sliced
the juice of 2 to 3 lemons
**optional: veggies to roast**


a baking tray
about half a metre of galvanised wire
2-3 metres of rope
a forked stick
a basting brush
a sharp knife
a small stool
a wheelbarrow
orange wood – any hard fruit wood will do, but do not use ordinary firewood
an accessible branch on a tree that is not too close to your house (we used a hook on the patio but it did leave lovely black marks on the roof)

Cooking Instructions:

1. Lay the leg of lamb on its side in the baking tray and, using a small sharp knife, cut slits 3-5 cm deep at a 45 degree angle all over the lamb. Force rosemary sprigs and garlic slivers into the slits, then force the spring onions in as well – the green leaves will jut out, a bit like a porcupine :)

2. Mix together the oregano, the onions and the juice from the lemons and pour this all over the leg of lamb. Leave to marinate while you make the fire.
The meat actually cooks by radiated heat and is gently smoked at the same time. I usually use orange or apple wood because of their aromatic properties and I make the fire in a wheelbarrow. This is useful because the cooking time is somewhere between 4 and 6 hours, and during that period of time Mother Nature could blow hot and cold and change her tune a number of times. But with a wheelbarrow you can adjust the position of the fire and take full advantage of the prevailing wind CookedInAfrica

First, slip the wire through the shank and twist it so there’s no chance of the meat falling into the fire. Attach the wire to the rope with a slipknot (we used a very large metal hook attached to some more wire...the possibilities to hang this thing are endless...get creative!)
3. Once the leg is attached to the wire and the rope you need to find a nice strong branch in a tall tree from which to hang your meat. (Be sure that it’s far enough away from your house and any dry tinder. You don’t want to end up chasing a runaway fire.) Balance the baking tray with the left over marinade on a stool and position this directly under the joint. Wheel the fire in next to the stool and place it so that the prevailing wind is blowing towards the lamb. You should be able to hold your hand between the fire and meat for just a few seconds without burning it. If it’s not hot enough chuck a couple of extra logs on the fire to really get the heat going.  
For the next 4 to 6 hours, you need to keep basting the lamb with marinade and the fatty juices that drip into the tray. Every 10 to 15 minutes turn the meat about 45 degrees and secure its position with the forked stick.
4. Get yourself comfy, with a good book and a glass of wine. (Don't forget some roast veggies:

Start preparing at about the 3-hour mark. Chop all the veggies into pieces about the same size so that they will all be ready at the same time. Use:

baby potatoes
sprigs of rosemary
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Blanch the various vegetable types separately in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Place on a baking tray, add the rosemary and drizzle with olive oil. Slow roast for between 40 minutes and 1 hour, turning occasionally. Once they’re cooked, reduce the heat of the oven to its lowest setting to keep them warm.
While the roast is resting make a sauce by pouring all the drippings and scraps of lamb in the baking tray into a pan, mix a teaspoon of cornflour in a cup of milk and add this to the pan. Keep stirring on low heat for between 5 to 10 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. To serve, place vegetables and slivers of roast lamb on a platter and drizzle the sauce over the meat).

5. And there you have it. Your very own Tarzan Roast. Now just get yourself  a nice group of people to share it with :)

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