in Senegal and other West African countries, small eateries called dibiteries serve slow roasted lamb and goat meat. The meat is wrapped in kraft paper and placed in the back of wood-burning clay ovens or on coals in a hole, covered, and slowly cooked until tender and succulent. You can replicate the process in a oven on low heat. The leg will cook for the better part of the day, but your patience will pay off in slabs of juicy meat, falling off the bone. Although it will take 8 hours to roast it will probably only take you 15 minutes to prepare.
The fiery kani sauce is a very common, spicy condiment and can be served with pretty much anything–just like ketchup. It can be purchased already bottled or easily made at home and adjusted to your personal taste.
This recipe is used with permission from Chef Pierre Thiam. Find more of his recipes in his book Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl and on his website.
3 sprigs thyme, leaves chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
Baguettes for serving
Tamarind Kani Sauce, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 275 °F
- Combine thyme, mustard, cumin, salt, pepper and oil. Rub over the leg of lamb.
- Line a baking sheet with a piece of kraft paper large enough to enclose the lamb and onions. Spread the onions in a layer in the center of the paper and lay the lamb on top. Carefully pour the water around the leg. Fold the paper tightly around the lamb and onions, enclosing them like a package. Make sure the paper is completely sealed closes. A clean paper grocery bag tied closed is another option.
- Place the lamb on the baking sheet in the oven and roast for 8 hours. The lamb is done when the meat pulls away and is tender. Serve from the paper or on a platter with baguette chunks, extra mustard and kani sauce on the side.
Tamarind Kani Sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, coarsely chopped
1 dried bay leaf
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Cook the onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until soft and fragrant. Add the tomatoes, Scotch bonnet, and bay leaf. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until thick like a chutney, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and adding a little water if necessary.
- Add the tamarind, sugar and fish sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf and puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
- Makes about 1 cup.