Roast leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic

28 Apr

My favourite roast meat simply has to be leg of lamb. I always associate it with special occasions, since we only got it for Christmas when I was a kid – I come from a family of 6, which means that cheaper cuts always got the upper hand on my Mom’s shopping lists!

These days I sometimes buy a small deboned leg of lamb that my husband grills on an open fire, basted with a tied rosemary parcel dripping with olive oil, garlic & lemon juice. The two of us eat it (pink on the inside but crispy on the outside) with freshly toasted ciabatta slices and a caprese salad with basil pesto. But I have to say, I still prefer a slow-roasted leg of lamb from the oven, preferably deboned (to make the life of the carver so much easier), the slits stuffed to the brim with garlic and rosemary. I just LOVE the way the aroma fills the whole house, and hangs around for another day or so.

This is my recipe for a 5 hour roasted leg of lamb. It creates a fantastic gravy in the bottom of the roasting pan, which I double up with some chicken stock and then pour all over the carved meat to make sure that it doesn’t dry out when standing. Served best on lazy, cold, winter days.


  • 1 leg of lamb, deboned (keep the bone on the side, because you are going to use it!)
  • 5 big cloves of garlic, sliced into thick slivers
  • 5 fresh sprigs of rosemary, cut into shorter stumps of around 3-4cm each
  • coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 onions, skinned & quartered
  • 10  whole cloves of garlic
  • 1 small bag organic baby potatoes
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 cup chicken stock (don’t be scared to use a stock cube dissolved in boiling water)
  • 1 teaspoon smooth apricot jam
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (Maizena)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  2. Debone your leg of lamp with a sharp knife (mine was 1.6kg bone in). I used my Wusthof paring knife. You don’t have to be an expert, just start on one side and cut the bone out without completely destroying your beautiful piece of meat!
  3. Using a piece of thin kitchen-rope, tie the leg of lamb together neatly. Once again, you don’t have to be an expert, just tie it up so that it comes together in one neat “ball” of meat.
  4. Cut slits all over the meat, sinking a sharp thin knife into the meat, but not right through it. These will form “pockets” for the garlic slivers & rosemary stumps.
  5. In each slit, insert a sliver of garlic and a stump of fresh rosemary, as deep as you can.
  6. Season well all over with salt & pepper and set aside.
  7. Smear the base of your roasting pan with olive oil. Arrange onions, whole garlic and the lamb bone in the base of the pan (the bone gives the gravy lots of flavour!). Put a wire rack on top.
  8. Now put the prepared lamb on top of the wire rack, and drizzle with all of the lemon juice. Cover with foil.
  9. Put in the middle of your preheated oven, and roast for 3 and a half hours.
  10. Remove from oven, add potatoes to the bottom of the pan below the wire rack, and return to the oven for another hour and half, without the foil.
  11. Remove from oven, set meat aside. Remove potatoes, onions & garlic with a slotted spoon into a serving dish. Discard bone (suck out the marrow first – cook’s privilege!).
  12. Heat  pan sauces on your stove top untill boiling, and add the cup of chicken stock & apricot jam. Stir through. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  13. Thicken pan sauces with a teaspoon of cornstarch (dissolve it in about 25 ml of cold water, and stir through untill thickened), and remove from heat.
  14. Cut the meat into thin slices, arrange on a serving dish, and cover with the sauce.
  15. Serve with the reserved potatoes and onions, cooked basmati rice and panfried green beans.
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2 Responses to “Roast leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic”

  1. Jeanne @ CookSister! May 13, 2011 at 15:18 #

    There is just no substitute for slooooooow cooked lamb roast, is there?? Beautiful.

  2. Alex April 4, 2012 at 23:17 #

    Looks great. I posted your recipe on my website here:

    I love it how even the next day you can use the left-overs for roast meat sandwiches. If you only have 2 people to feed the roast winds lasting for like 3 days.

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