Lamb Shawarma with Tomato Jam

Lamb Shawarma with Tomato Jam

From: Executive chef Liam Spence, Lola, Seattle, WA. Yield: 12 servings.

8 lb. American Lamb leg roast, boned, silverskin removed

½ cup dried Greek oregano (preferably on-the-stem)

2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary

¼ cup kosher salt

2 Tbsp. fresh ground black pepper

4 lemons, juiced (about 1 cup), juice divided

½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

Tomato Jam:

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

pinch of cayenne pepper

Shawarma Sauce:

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 cup mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

½ tsp. dried Greek oregano, preferably on the stem

as desired, salt

Shawarma Seasoning:

2 Tbsp. cumin seeds

2 Tbsp. coriander seeds

1½ Tbsp. fennel seeds

2 Tbsp. sweet paprika

1 Tbsp. ground turmeric

1 Tbsp. Madras curry powder

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

½ tsp. allspice

1½ Tbsp. kosher salt

6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

12 pita breads

1 head Romaine lettuce, sliced crosswise into thin ribbons

In a medium bowl, add oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup lemon juice and ¼ cup oil. Using a sharp knife, score the inside of the roast on a diagonal in 1" intervals. Turn roast over; score fat cap. Rub herb mixture over both sides of lamb; pour lemon oil over roast. Tie roast with butcher's twine; place in large baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Whisk remaining ½ cup lemon juice and ¼ cup olive oil together; set aside. Place roast on a roasting rack lightly coated with nonstick spray. Roast at 325°F until temperature reaches 130°F, about 2½ to 3 hours. Baste every 30 minutes with lemon juice-oil mixture. Remove from oven; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing into ¼" pieces. (Roast can also be cooled completely before slicing.) Prepare Tomato Jam and Shawarma Sauce while lamb roasts.

For Tomato Jam: In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook until translucent, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and cayenne; bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until mixture is thick and tomatoes are concentrated into a jam texture, 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring often. Remove from heat; set aside to cool to room temperature. Transfer jam to an airtight container; refrigerate until serving. (Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.)

For Shawarma Sauce: In a large bowl, add yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, oregano and salt. Stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until serving. (Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.)

For Shawarma Seasoning: In a large skillet, add cumin, coriander and fennel; toast over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the seeds start to crackle, are fragrant and wisps of smoke rise from the pan, about 3 minutes. Transfer spices to a large plate; cool. In a spice grinder or coffee mill, grind spices into a fine powder. Turn the mixture out into a medium bowl; stir in paprika, turmeric, curry, cayenne, allspice and salt.

In a large bowl, add sliced lamb; toss with 6 Tbsp. spice mixture to evenly coat. (Store remaining spice blend in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 6 months.)

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add one-third of the seasoned lamb. Cook until lamb is warmed through. Transfer lamb to a large platter. Repeat twice with remaining oil and lamb.

Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Place the pita bread on 2 rimmed baking sheets; place in oven and warm at 300°F. Remove from oven; spread Tomato Jam inside each pita, or if pita is very thin, spread Tomato Jam on top. Divide lamb between the pitas. Top with shredded lettuce and a few tablespoons of Shawarma Sauce. Serve hot.