North African Leg of Lamb with Couscous and Grilled Vegetables

Jamie Purviance

Fuel Type:
  • People

    Serves 8 to 10

  • Prep Time

    1 h

  • Marinating Time

    8 to 24 h

  • Grilling Time

    45 to 57 min.


the Ingredients

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  • 3 large shallots, about 225 grams total, each peeled and quartered
  • 18 grams loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 80 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil
  • 60 milliliters fresh lemon juice
  • 8 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 boneless leg of lamb, 2.3 to 2.5 kilograms, butterflied, excess fat, sinew, and silver skin removed


  • 2 fennel bulbs (with fronds), about 570 grams total
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut crosswise into 8- to 12-millimeter slices
  • 455 grams medium zucchini, trimmed, each cut lengthwise into 8- to 12-millimeter slices
  • 2 large red bell peppers, each cut lengthwise into 8 wedges, stems and seeds removed
  • 60 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces finely chopped shallots (about 240 grams)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.2 liter reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 boxes (each 10 to 12 ounces) 5-minute plain couscous
  • 18 grams loosely packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped, divided

Special Equipment

  • instant-read thermometer


  • In a food processor combine the marinade ingredients and process until an almost smooth puree forms. Place the lamb, opened flat, in a large glass baking dish or on a sheet pan. Spread the marinade evenly all over both sides of the lamb. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours. Allow the lamb to stand at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour before grilling (do not scrape the marinade off the lamb).
  • Cut off the thick stalks and the root ends from the fennel bulbs and discard. Finely chop and reserve the fronds for garnish. Cut each fennel bulb lengthwise in half and cut out the thick triangular core at the bottom. Cut each half into 8-millimeter slices. In a large bowl combine all the cut vegetables. Add 60 milliliters oil, the salt, and pepper and toss gently, being careful not to break the vegetables. If the vegetables seem dry, add one more tablespoon oil. 
  • Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (180° to 230°C).
  • Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the lamb, fat side down first, over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 51º to 54ºC, 30 to 45 minutes for medium rare, turning once after 20 minutes.
  • About 15 minutes before the lamb is done, prepare the couscous. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat on the stove, heat the oil. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken broth and bring to boil. Stir in the couscous. Remove from the heat, cover with the saucepan lid, and let stand 5 to 10 minutes (keep the couscous covered to keep warm).
  • Remove the lamb from the grill, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Maintain the heat of the grill.
  • While the meat is resting, grill the vegetables over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until tender and lightly charred on the outside, turning occasionally. The fennel and squash will take 10 to 12 minutes, the peppers will take 6 to 8 minutes, and the zucchini will take 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the grill as they are done.
  • Cut the lamb crosswise into slices. Spoon the couscous on half of a large platter and the vegetables on the other half. Top the couscous with 12 grams of the chopped mint and sprinkle the fennel fronds over the vegetables. Arrange the lamb slices on the couscous. Top the lamb with the remaining 6 grams chopped mint. Drizzle the lamb with any accumulated juices. Serve warm.

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