This is how the Greeks make roast lamb – cooked until tender, half braised in a garlic lemon flavoured liquid that transforms into a luscious sauce – no mucking around with gravy! This Greek Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb takes hours and hours to roast, but it is EASY, virtually foolproof and very hands off. A perfect centrepiece for Easter, Sunday Roast or any other occasion for feasting!!
All around the world this weekend, there will be gatherings of family and friends to celebrate Easter. I was quite interested to learn that ham is very popular in America. Here in Australia, it’s all about lamb and seafood.
I was very tempted to share a salmon gravlax – have you ever made it yourself? It’s so insanely easy – gourmet food on a budget!! But because I shared a side of salmon recipe for Christmas (my mother’s Miso Marinated Side of Salmon!), I decided to go for lamb this Easter.
But not just any lamb roast. A Greek one. Rubbed with a simple spice mix, slow cooked until tender, half braised so it sucks up all the yummy lemony garlicky herby flavours.
No carving knife required. See?
Aussies love their lamb. In my family, Sunday Night Roast Dinners are an occasion that triggers fiery correspondence between us kids as we debate the menu. You can read one such dialogue in this Slow Roasted Rosemary Garlic Lamb Shoulder, along with my self proclaimed family title as Roast Queen.
The thing with roasting a leg of lamb is that unless (and even if) you have a meat thermometer, it is actually quite hard to cook the roast perfectly so it is blushing pink on the inside, moist and juicy. It can take just 20 minutes for a leg of lamb to go from perfect to dry.
It can even overcook while resting. Truly. Been there, done that – cutting into the lamb straight out of the oven to take a peek, grinning smugly when I spied pink, set it aside to rest for 30 minutes, then when I carved it, there was not a hint of pink left.
I was temporarily dethroned as Roast Queen when that happened. I’d like to say I stepped down like a good sport, but no, I was overthrown.? I’m taking back the title for this Greek lamb though!!
Flavour, flavour, flavour, juicy, juicy, juicy, easy, easy, easy. That’s what this Greek Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb is all about. As long as you allow for sufficient cooking time, it is really hard to go wrong with this.
In true Greek form, this lamb is packed with extra flavour by stuffing bits of garlic into incisions made all over the lamb, then it’s rubbed with paprika and garlic powder. Add a simple braising liquid to keep it beautifully moist and to infuse it with even more flavour, then cook it long and slow.
Oh! The other advantage of this Greek Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb? NO MUCKING AROUND TO MAKE GRAVY! The braising liquid reduces down to an intensely flavoured sauce that needs to be generously poured all over the lamb. This is how it is supposed to be. And I’m not complaining!!!
This lamb does take hours to roast. Hours upon hours. 7 hours for a 3.5kg/7lb leg of lamb, to be precise. But it’s hands off, low maintenance time.
And at the end of it, look at what you get!! Now THIS is a step up from the usual Sunday night roast! – Nagi x
PS Greek Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb is pictured here with my Truly Crunchy Roast Potatoes. They really are….well, crunchy!! 😉
- 12 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 7 lb / 3.5 kg leg of lamb (Note 1)
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tsp paprika powder
- 3 tsp garlic powder (or sub with onion powder)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, quartered (white, brown, yellow, red)
- 10 sprigs of thyme
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 3 tsp dried oregano
- 3 dried bayleaves (or 5 fresh)
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml lemon juice (2 - 3 lemons), plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml white wine (or sub with chicken broth/stock, low salt)
- 2 cups / 500 ml chicken broth (liquid chicken stock)
Preheat oven to 220C/430F (fan forced/convection) or 240C/465F (standard ovens). (Note 2)
Use a small knife to make around 25 incisions all over the lamb, with most on the top.
Cut around 6 cloves into slivers and stuff them into the incisions.
Sprinkle the lamb generously all over with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Drizzle with olive oil and rub all over the lamb.
Place the lamb in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes or until it has a nice brown crust.
Remove from the oven. Turn the oven down to 160C/320F (fan forced) / 180C/350F (conventional).
Turn the lamb upside down. Pour / place all the remaining ingredients in the pan around the lamb (including remaining garlic cloves). Fill the roasting pan with hot water so it comes up about 1/4 - 1/3 of the way up the height of the lamb.
Cover with lid or with baking/parchment paper then 2 layers of foil. Bake for 3.5 hours. (Note 3) Top up water if it dries out (e.g. Might happen if your lid is loose)
Remove the roast from the oven and remove the lid/foil. Turn the lamb over so it is the right side up.
Cover again and roast for a further 2 1/2 hours, or until you can pull meat apart with forks.
Remove cover and roast for a further 20 - 30 minutes (to brown). (Note 3)
Remove from the oven and transfer lamb to serving platter. Cover loosely with foil and rest for 30 - 40 minutes.
Strain liquid into a clear jug. The fat will rise to the top. Scoop/pour most of it off - I get 3/4 - 1 cup. There should be 2 - 3 cups of Sauce left. Adjust salt, pepper and lemon to taste.
Serve lamb with the Sauce on the side and Truly Crunchy Roast Potatoes (heat oil while lamb is in the oven, then cook potatoes when the lamb is resting).
1. I used a full leg of lamb which is too long for most roasting trays. If you buy it from a supermarket, typically the shaft (bone) will be cut so it bends so it can fit into the pan. If you purchase it from a butcher, ask them to do this for you because you need the roast to fit flat in a roasting pan so it can lie submerged in the braising liquid.
2. Or as high as your oven goes if it can't go this high.
3. TOTAL COOK TIME:
4. Adapted from this Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb by Kalofagas.
MORE ROAST LAMB
Slow Cooker Roast Lamb Leg with Gravy – The most succulent lamb leg you’ll ever have!
Classic Roast Lamb – Perfectly pink and juicy inside, with a killer gravy!
Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder – My favourite cut of lamb for roasting! Super tender, incredible flavour, and so forgiving!
LIFE OF DOZER
Oh, look who made an appearance when I pulled this out of the oven. Sorry Dozer, no lamb for you! Too much garlic – bad for you!