Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb

Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb

This Roasted bone-in Leg of Lamb is tender, moist and flavorful with simple seasonings, herbs and aromatics.

I must confess that I have always preferred lamb meat for roasting, stews and curries because it stays moist and tender as long as it is cooked properly.

It is also easier to chew and digest, at least for me and I still have all my teeth. If you want a cheaper cut with the same level of deliciousness try our Slow Cooked Pulled Lamb shoulder

One thing I have realised over the years is that I really don’t like the taste, look and mouth feel of overcooked grey slow roasted leg of lamb. I love the meat to be tender and moist and a little pink.

When I was a young child, slow roasted bone-in leg of lamb was a dish reserved for festivals like Eid, Easter and Christmas. My mother used to sear her bone-in leg of lamb pot roast then cook it in a pressure cooker until tender. It was always moist and delicious, redolent with garlic and rosemary. She then roasted the potatoes in the same oil and it was so delicious I can practically taste it, even now, forty years later.

Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb


How to make Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb taste less gamey

I have often heard Americans refer to lamb meat as tasting and smelling gamey and that being the reason many forgo the pleasure of eating it. South African lamb has a mild flavor and is usually smaller and more tender than the lamb from other countries I have come across.

Until a few years ago I had never tasted slow roasted leg of lamb that smelled or tasted remotely gamey. That all changed when I went for lunch at one of my favorite Texas Brazilian restaurants in Dubai, where they serve a wide selection of grilled and roasted meats to the table.

It may have been because I had not eaten lamb for a while that I could taste the gaminess from the first bite. One way to reduce the gaminess of your slow roasted leg of lamb is to remove much of the dense pockets of fat where the gamey flavor seems to be concentrated.

Also, the one thing you must do if you are cleaning and trimming the leg of lamb yourself is remove the gland that is embedded in a chunk of fat near the shank. It gives the meat a weird taste and pungent gamey aroma. Nowadays most butchers remove it before selling, but ask them to check just in case.

Sliced Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb

How to flavor Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb

Although I prefer bone-in slow roasted leg of lamb, you can also buy it boneless or butterflied. The last two allows you to add more seasoning and to make slow roasted boneless leg of lamb or slow roasted rolled lamb leg.

  • My favorite flavoring for Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb is simple: Salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic cloves, fresh rosemary sprigs.
  • For a Greek leg of lamb recipe add oregano instead of rosemary and use lots of lemon and orange slices.
  • For a Turkish Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb add crushed tomatoes, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, fennel seeds, sweet paprika and lemon juice. This is not one of my favorites to be honest only because I don’t like the tomatoey flavor.

Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb

How to make Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb

  • Make slits in the lamb with a sharp knife and slide in a garlic clove and rosemary leaves in each slit.
  • Brown the meat on the stove in a heavy based pot then placed over cut root vegetables in a baking tray and covered with aluminium foil.
  • The lamb is placed into a hot oven that is turned down low and slow roasted for 4-5 hours.

Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb with yellow rice, roasted veg and gravy

Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb

Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb

Razena Schroeder
This Roasted Bone-in Leg of Lamb is tender, moist and flavorful with simple seasonings, herbs and aromatics.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cape Malay
Servings 10
Calories 307 kcal


  • 30 ml olive oil approximately 2 tablespoons
  • 2 kg bone in leg of lamb fat trimmed and the gland removed
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 6 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 500 g red onions, peeled and quartered approximately 2 medium onions
  • 150 g carrots, peeled and quartered approximately 2 medium carrots
  • 560 g potatoes, peeled and quartered approximately 2 medium potatoes
  • 10 ml salt approximately 2 teaspoons
  • 5 ml freshly ground black pepper approximately 1 teaspoon
  • 1 lemon
  • 250 ml vegetable stock approximately 1 cup


  • 30 ml butter approximately 2 tablespoons
  • 45 ml cake flour approximately 3 tablespoons
  • 250 ml vegetable or lamb stock approximately 1 cup
  • 125 ml pan juices, fat skimmed off approximately 1 cup
  • 6 roasted garlic cloves


  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan /Gas Mark 7/ 428ºF.
  • Peel half the head of garlic and leave the rest in their skins.
  • Make slits at least 2cm deep in both sides of the lamb leg with a sharp knife and insert a clove of garlic and rosemary leaves into each slit.
  • Pour the oil over the meat and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
  • Heat a heavy based pot on a high heat on the stove and brown the lamb leg on both sides for a few minutes then remove from the heat. This should take about 10 minutes.
  • Place the remaining garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs, potatoes, carrots and onions in the bottom of a roasting pan and place the leg of lamb on top.
  • Add one cup of vegetable stock to the roasting pan and cover the lamb with two layers of aluminum foil, making sure that it is fully sealed.
  • Place the roasting pan in the oven and cook covered for 20 minutes at the high heat.
  • Reduce the temperature setting to 200°C / 400F / Gas mark 6 and roast still covered for 1 hour. After 30 minutes, check that there is enough liquid and add up to a 1/2 cup more of your chosen liquid to prevent scorching the vegetables.
  • Reduce the temperature setting to 180°C / 350F / Gas mark 4 and remove the foil then roast for another 20 mins uncovered. Make sure it doesn't burn.
  • Remove the roasting pan from the oven and cover with foil, then leave the lamb to rest for 30 minutes before slicing. It will continue to cook during this time but will still be pinkish.
  • Place the rested leg of lamb on a platter with roasted vegetables and slice.

Gravy sauce

  • Remove the rosemary sprigs and roasted garlic cloves from the pan stock.
  • Place the butter into a pan over medium heat to melt then add the flour.
  • Cook out the flour for a few minutes then add the pan juices and stock and cook until it bubbles.
  • Squeeze the soft squidgy garlic cloves from their skins into the gravy. Mash with a fork until it emulsifies into the sauce.
  • Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and add a dash of lemon juice.
  • Serve the sauce on the side with the sliced leg of lamb


Calories: 307kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 29gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 721mgPotassium: 760mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 2712IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 3mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword cape malay recipe, high protein, slow cooking
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