middle eastern roast leg of lamb

When you are having guests over, the last thing you want is to be bogged down with a complicated meal. This simple recipe is the perfect rescue. It brings together a handful of ingredients and delivers maximum flavour. The aroma of saffron, garlic and thyme as it roasts is simply irresistable and the final dish makes for a perfect Sunday roast.

roast leg of lamb

middle easter lamb

roast leg of lamb with potatoes and onions

roasted garlic

Middle Eastern Roast Leg of Lamb

(serves 6-8)

  • 5 lb leg of lamb
  • 18 g garlic cloves, cut in half
  • pinch of saffron
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 850 g baking potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 450 g (about 4 small) onions, thickly sliced into rings
  • 225 g (about 2) lemons, ends trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 2-3 whole heads of garlic, trimmed at the top to expose the cloves
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • roasted carrots and asparagus for serving or any vegetable of your choice


  1. For every piece of garlic, make incisions in the lamb (bottom side) and press the garlic into it.
  2. Soak saffron in 1 tbsp of boiling water for 5 minutes.
  3. Combine saffron water, lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Rub mixture over the lamb and let marinate for 2-4 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  5. In a large baking pan, layer potato, onion and lemon slices. Place lamb on top, pour remaining marinade over the lamb.
  6. Roast for a total of 2-2 1/2 hours, basting occasionally. It’s best to use a meat thermometer. For lamb, the reading should be 170 °F for well done.
  7. After one hour of roasting, add garlic heads to the pan and roast these for the remainder of the time.
  8. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve with roasted carrots and asparagus.


21 thoughts on “middle eastern roast leg of lamb

    1. Thank you. I have this problem all the time… I do most of my blogging late at night after the kids have gone to bed… it’s the worst time to want to eat!

    1. Thank you, Myra… we did not roast in the blue pan, we actually used a much larger pan but it wasn’t very photogenic so I had to carefully place everything in the blue one… everyone was waiting to eat so by the time I took a few photos, there was not even any time to photograph a plateful.

    1. Thank you! I am intimidated by all meats. My husband is the chef behind this one… but this one in particular is not too complicated. It’s delicious, well worth the try!

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