Slow roasted leg of lamb

Slow cooking is a fantastic way to enjoy a martini. You prepare the food, put on the heat and then leave it for ages while you go about your life, and maybe pour a pre-dinner drink.

After talking about lamb in my post about Seven Crofts Gin I found myself thinking about how I would like to roast some lamb to go with a martini. I had already been planning something like this for Easter and had wanted to come up with something as easy as possible so as not to distract me from everything else I was doing that weekend (DIY, spring cleaning etc). So here we go.


  • A leg of lamb
  • 2 onions (and a few extra if you want to roast them alongside the lamb)
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Oil
  • Salt, pepper
  • A splash of red wine (and obviously the rest of the bottle for drinking)
  • Preserved lemons (totally optional but I think they’re a really nice addition)


  • Peel and roughly chop the cloves of one garlic bulb
  • Peel and roughly chop two onions
  • Add the garlic, onions and a tablespoon of oil to a food processor and blitz to a paste
  • Put the lamb in a large Tupperware unit
  • Rub the paste over the leg of lamb. Try to coat the whole thing but if some of it falls off the underside it’s okay.
  • Loosely cover and lamb and leave it in the marinade overnight in the fridge.
  • In the morning turn over the lamb, re-apply and rub so that you are coating any parts that were not covered overnight (the marinade can drip away).
  • Put back in the fridge and allow to marinade for a few more hours.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 120 degrees (fan oven, it might be less for gas ovens).
  • Heat a pan or griddle on high heat.
  • Wipe as much of the marinade off the lamb but reserve it for cooking.
  • Add the lamb to the hot pan and press down. Aim to brown it roughly on all sides. I press it down for about 60-90 seconds on each side. I use a griddle pan because I love the dramatic lines it leaves in the meat.
  • Remove the lamb from the heat.
  • Add a generous splash of red wine to the pan to wash up any leftover juices or marinade then pour this into a large roasting pan.
  • Peel and half any additional onions you want to slow cook, half any preserved lemons you want to use (I used three) and peel the cloves of the second bulb of garlic.
  • Scatter them roughly around the large roasting pan with the wine sauce already in it.
  • Reapply the marinade to the lamb, trying to coat as much as possible.
  • Sit the lamb in the middle of the roasting pan with the garlic and optional onions and preserved lemon scattered around.
  • Add about a glass of water to the bottom of the pan which will help stop the lamb from drying out and the red wine sauce from burning.
  • Pull a loose sheet of tin/aluminium foil over the lamb, trying to avoid too much contact between it and the meat.
  • Put the pan in the oven and cook for about four hours.
  • About once every hour turn the lamb, maybe spoon over some of the juices from the pan, and maybe add in a splash of red wine or some additional water.
  • When the meat is almost ready, remove the foil, spoon over any juices in the pan to make sure the flesh is wet and turn the heat up to 200°C for about 6 minutes.
  • Depending on how you want your meat, you could leave it in for longer. If you have a meat thermometer, 60°C is medium, and 70°C is well done. I normally like my meat as rare as recommended but this was for guests so I really didn’t want to be responsible for killing anyone or putting them off.

If the meat is ready, turn the heat off, remove the lamb from the oven, re-cover it with the tin foil and let it rest for… oh around about the same amount of time it might take to drink a martini (30-40 minutes).

It will continue to cook during this time.

When it’s ready to serve, carve it up and enjoy.

Bear in mind that it might look paler than some roast lambs. This is because it has been slow cooked in the oven rather than roasted. It also means that the flesh is much more tender.

Serve with roasted vegetables, which you can add to the oven during cooking. You can also serve them with roast potatoes or steamed rice.

You can add water to the bottom of the pan to make a gravy with all the leftover juices as well.

The dish is served here with roast potatoes, red cabbage and samphire prepared by my neighbour.

You will likely have meat left over. It goes very well in a Middle Eastern style wrap with tomatoes, herbs, za’atar, shredded cabbage and any of the leftover roast onion and preserved lemon (use the latter sparingly as it has quite a potent pungency). You could also add olives, salad, pickled vegetable, garlic mayonnaise or sliced raw onion as well.

Note that if you’re wondering what type of martini might go with this dish, try a classic, a rosemary martini (or Rosemary’s Baby martini), or a martini with thyme.


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