In Arabic, the term metfouna (or medfouna) means buried and in local nomadic societies it refers to a cooking technique where food is buried underground and cooked slowly under hot coals, which create a sort of natural oven. Roasting this leg of lamb at home in a medium-low heat oven for three hours produces similar results—juicy and tender meat.
Chef Ohad Levi stuffs the leg with dates from Kibbutz Samar in the Arabah Valley, browned whole garlic cloves, and a charoset made with salted almonds and date molasses that also comes from Samar. The sweet and salty combination pairs perfectly with the lamb for a festive Seder dish. This Passover, you can find dates and silan from Kibbutz Samar in the Kaiten x Asif Desert Box.
Check out more desert Passover recipes from Levi like one for herb-stuffed fish with a warm yogurt sauce and chocolate fudge muffins with coffee and cardamom.
Leg of lamb (3.5-4.5kg or 8-10 pounds), deboned and ready for stuffing (ask your butcher)
Ground black pepper
1 liter (1qt) water
For the charoset:
400 grams (14oz) salt-roasted almonds
½ cup (120ml) date molasses
For the filling:
15 Israeli garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup (120ml) olive oil, for frying the garlic
10 pitted dates
Kitchen twine for tying the meat or meat netting
- Prepare the charoset: Grind the almonds and date molasses in a food processor. Set aside.
- Prepare the filling: Pour the olive oil into a small pot, add the garlic cloves and fry over a high heat until lightly browned, taking care not to burn them. Remove from the heat and set aside (the olive oil can be saved and reused).
- Spread the leg of lamb open and season generously with salt and black pepper. Fill the leg with the charoset (you don’t need to use the entire amount), pitted dates, and fried garlic cloves, roll tightly and tie securely with the kitchen twine (or insert into an elastic meat netting).
- Place the stuffed lamb roll in a roasting pan, season generously with salt and black pepper and brush with olive oil (you can use the oil you fried the garlic in).
- Preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Pour the water into the roasting pan and bake uncovered for 3 hours, until the meat is brown on the outside and very soft on the inside.
- To serve: Remove the twine or netting, brush the meat with the cooking liquid and serve at the center of the table, as is or sliced, along with the remaining charoset.