Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Preserved Lemon

3:10 pm on 19 December 2014

Serves 8 or more

Preserved lemon and spices really work their magic on lamb, giving it a spicy sweetness which tastes as good as it smells during cooking.


1.3 kg butterflied leg of lamb
1 preserved lemon
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp each cumin and fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ras el hanout
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp flaky sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced


Trim away any excess fat from lamb. Rinse preserved lemon under running water, discarding pulp. Pat rind dry and slice thickly. Mix oil, lemon, spices, pepper, salt, and garlic together. Rub spice paste all over lamb. Cover lamb loosely (I use a sheet of baking paper and a food umbrella) and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. The lamb can be prepared several hours before cooking; cover well and refrigerate but it's essential to bring the lamb to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat oven to 200°C (fanbake). Transfer lamb to a shallow roasting tin positioning it fat side up. Tuck garlic and lemon into any crevices in lamb to prevent them burning, or tuck under meat. Roast for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, season with sea salt, then rest lamb for 10-12 minutes before slicing thinly with a long sharp knife. Arrange on a warmed platter. Skim off any from the roasting juices then spoon them over the sliced lamb. Serve immediately.

Serving suggestions

A tray of roasted vegetables such as fennel bulb, yellow and red pepper, eggplant and carrot, with a bowl of thick yoghurt flavoured with crushed garlic, chopped mint and ground cumin.

Sprinkle everything with pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses.


From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

Find a Recipe

or browse by title