Greek Style Roast Leg of Lamb with Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Greek Style Roast Leg of Lamb with Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Easter is right around the corner and this last weekend I took the opportunity to test out a new recipe. When I think of Easter dinner I almost always gravitate towards lamb which reminds me of spring and I have had this recipe for a Greek style roast leg of lamb from Kalofagas bookmarked for a while now, just waiting for a special occasion. One of the things that I really like about Greek cuisine is the heavy use of fresh herbs and this roast lamb is marinated in a mixture of rosemary, thyme and oregano in addition to lemon juice, mustard, paprika and of course a generous amount of salt and pepper. After marinating the lamb is roasted until it is moist and falling apart tender and then potato wedges are tossed in the drippings along with more lemon juice and some oregano before being roasted until nice and crispy! What a meal!

When roasting meat the goal is for it to be moist and tender and there are two ways to get this; the first is to roast the meat just until it hits the sweet spot at medium-rare and the second is to keep roasting well beyond well done where the bonds that hold the fibers of the meat start to loosen and the fat starts to render returning the meat to a moist and tender state. A lot of the time when you roast lamb, you go for the sweet spot at medium rare where the lamb in really pink and this recipe is not one of those recipes; here we roast it until it is so tender that you can cut it with a spoon.

In addition to the amazing lamb this recipe also calls for using the lamb drippings to roast some potato wedges in and they might just be better than the lamb itself! The potato wedges are tossed in lemon and oregano and they are roasted at a high temperature until they a crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside. With the combination of the flavour provided by the dripping, lemon and oregano and the textures, these potato wedges are almost impossible to resist!

Although roast diners are always good, I sometimes enjoy using the leftovers even more so I often get larger cuts of meat than needed planning to get lots of leftovers! I kicked off using the lamb leftovers this morning by making some roast lamb gyros, with tomatoes, onion, tzatziki and feta for breakfast and I served them with some of the leftover roast potato wedges and a salad.

Roast Lamb Gyros

Greek Style Roast Leg of Lamb with Lemon Roasted Potatoes

A Greek style lemon and herb marinated roast leg of lamb with lemon roast potatoes that is perfect for Easter or for a special Sunday dinner.

Servings: makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Printable Recipe
  • 8 cloves garlic, half slivered and half chopped
  • 1 (4 pound) leg of lamb with bone in
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
  • 4 lemons
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 pounds potatoes, optionally peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pierce the leg of lamb with a knife and insert the slivers of garlic all around the surface.
  2. Mix the remaining garlic, oregano, rosemary, thyme, the juice and zest of 1 lemon, the oil, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper, rub the mixture over the lamb and let it marinade in the fridge for 1 hour to over night.
  3. Place the lamb on a rack in your roasting pan, top it with some of the marinade and place enough water in the pan to cover the bottom without touching the lamb.
  4. Cover in foil and roast in a preheated 450F oven on the middle rack until tender enough to easily pull from the bone, about 2-4 hours, adding more water if needed.
  5. Reduce the heat to 350F and roast until browned, remove from the oven cover in foil and let rest.
  6. Remove the drippings from the pan reserving them.
  7. Skim off a few tablespoons of the fat from the drippings and toss the potato wedges in them along with the juice of one lemon, oregano, salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Cut the remaining lemons into wedges, add them to the pan along with the potato wedges and roast at 450F until the potatoes are tender on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside, about 30-45 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Greek Style Pulled Lamb
Roasted Lamb in Coffee Sauce
The Perfect Roast Beef
Pot Roast
Chicken Souvlaki Gyros
Mushroom Crusted Prime Rib Roast

Use leftovers in:
Lamb Exohiko (Lamb Stuffed Phyllo Parcels)
Gyro Grilled Cheese Sandwich (aka Gyro Melt)


Jennifer said...

that looks so good!

Becki's Whole Life said...

I have never thought to roast a lamb like this - we are always going for the medium rare state. This sounds delightful and I love the gyro...what a great way to use the leftovers!

We always roast our leg of lamb with carrots and potatoes and I agree that they are just wonderful!

anniebakes said...

beautiful kevin! and i loved your ebook!! thank you for sharing it with us! anne

Tazeen said...

This. Looks. AMAZING. I am seriously blown away by all your recipes!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Mighty scrumptious! This easter I'm making schawarma lamb and will use the leftover to make Lebanese rolls.



Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious said...

Wow, what a gorgeous roast. I love how it's so beautifully charred too. And I'm particularly excited about the leftover lamb gyros! :)

Peter M said...

Great looking leg of lamb Kevin. This is the Greek way to do a leg of lamb...well done but still succulent & fall-off the bone. Cheers!

mireia badia said...

I'm not so excited about the head hahaha but this seems like it should have an amazing flavour

CharlesR said...

Hi Kevin:
I love lamb done the greek way!

It brings out all the flavours of the roast and marries them beautifully.

I'm already drooling and I have a roast lamb in my freezer!

Thanks for sharing.


breakfastatnatalies said...

I never really make big roasts like this, but with Easter coming up this weekend, I might have a good excuse : ) looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

I'm confused (easily done) about step 4 & 5 - preheat to 450 and roast for 2-4 hours...after that reduce to 350? Or reduce to 350 as soon as you put the lamb in? Thanks for any info...looks amazing.

Julia said...

I've already purchased a boneless NZ leg of lamb - what do you suggest I cut the cooking time down to?
Thanks Kevin!

Lillian said...

Kevin, you can actually roast the potatoes along with the lamb..That's what I do every year and they come out amazing.A tip: Halfway through the roasting time, pour a large glass of Sprite or 7UP over the potatoes...Mmmmmmmmmmm!!!! :))

jillian said...

I think roasts like this can be so intimidating, but this looks great! I just may have to try it...

Kevin said...

Lillian: I wanted to ensure that these potatoes came out nice and crispy so I did not want them submerged in liquid. I do enjoy roasting potatoes in the pot with the meat though and next time I will have to try adding sprite!

Kevin said...

jillian: I was intimidated by roasts at first as well but it is actually quite easy. With roasted where you are going for medium rare, a thermometer is your best friend and for roasts like this you just keep cooking until they are fork render keeping an eye on them as they go.

Kevin said...

Julia: You want to cook the lamb until it is comes away easily with a fork so just start checking for it to be done a little earlier, say at an hour and a half.

Kevin said...

Anonymous: You roast it covered in foil at 450F until it is done and then you reduce the temperature to 350F, remove the foil and roast it a little longer to give it that nice colour.

Dan said...

This kind of looks like Admiral Ackbar's head on a platter.

FreyFamily said...

Delicious recipe! I made this tonight for dinner, served with eggplant and mashed potatoes. We also made a gravy from the drippings. A keeper for sure!

I roasted mine at 450 for the first 15 minutes. The leg cooked 25 mins/lb. Thanks for the great recipe!

Lamb Shanks Recipe said...

Wow very delicious lamb recipe you got there... cant wait to try it .. thanks for sharing ..

bBarb said...

I have one oven and am hosting a big dinner -- 17 people. I have 2 legs of lamb, bone-in, each approx 3 pounds. I also plan to bake salmon (20 minutes cooking time). Questions: 1) If I cook both legs of lamb at the same time in the oven, do I have to extend the cooking time? 2) Do you think it is a good idea to start cooking the salmon as soon as the lamb is done, so that both can be served warm? Or would you suggest a different method? Thanks much.

Kevin said...

bBarb: The roasting time should not change all that much for the lamb and putting the salmon in just after the lamb is the way to go. It sounds like it is going to be a great meal!

Anonymous said...

Hello Kevin, cooked this this evening and i think i overcooked the lamb. The marinade was great and the flavour of the meeat fabulous, but it was abit dry. Very tender but dry, we usually have our lamb very pink. I had a 4 lb bit of meat and cooked for 3 hours, usually I would have cooked for 2hours. any suggestions.?

Kevin said...

Anonymous: There are two sweet spots when roasting meat where the meat is nice and tender; the first spot is when the meat is medium rare and the second spot is when the meat has been roasted long enough that the muscle tissue starts to break down and the meat gets tender again. This recipe is going for the second sweet spot where it is roasted long enough for the meat to get really tender but is should not dry out. Did all of the water in the bottom of the pan evaporate? One thing that you can do to help keep it moister is to cover the roast in foil while it roasts.

Martha said...

Hi Kevin I love your recipe, however when you say that the total cooking time is 3 hours does that mean you cooked the 4 pound leg of lamb for 2hrs 15 minutes and the potatoes for 45 minutes. Any information would be very helpful. I have a 4 pound leg of lamb and would like for it to fall off the bone. Thanks Kevin

Kevin Lynch said...

Martha: Yes, you cook the lamb until fork tender, about 2 hours and then roast the potatoes for 30-45 minutes. You could also add the potatoes to the pan with the lamb about 30-45 minutes before it is done and cut down on the total time.

Anonymous said...

I just made this with Australian bone-in lamb shoulder. It was amazing! The meat is fall-off-the-bone and still a little pink inside. I think the shoulder was about +2 lbs. I roasted it for 2 hours. I didn't even end up crusting up the outside. No need, and I didn't want to risk drying out the meat. I accidentally left out the dijon mustard, but it was still deelish! I also used dried herbs, as I didn't have fresh. The recipe is awesome! Thanks a million for posting. My 20 month old keeps saying, "More lamb! Oh, goodie!"

Simon said...

Just made this, slight variation used smoked paprika and made accompanying sauce of mint, dill, cayenne, shallots, lemon and yoghurt, absolutely perfect. Cooked for nearly 4 hours until the bone literally slid right out. Fantastic recipe, best lamb ever!

Elizabeth Kuehne said...

A lovely recipe with a surprising and fresh taste of lemon. A great pairing. I make sure to add extra potatoes. Thank you for posting this.

Youmen Salam said...

thank you for sharing,the herbs used are fresh or dried?

Kevin Lynch said...

Youmen Salam: I use fresh herbs in the recipe but dried would work (but not quite be the same) if you preferred.

emilyrichardson said...

Hi Kevin, would it be possible to adapt this for a crock pot?

Kevin Lynch said...

emilyrichardson: Yes you can! You can implement steps 1 & 2, place the lamb in the slow cooker, top with potatoes cut into 2 inch pieces along with the lemon wedges and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. If you want the crispy potato wedges you are going to have to do them in the oven so you would just place the lamb in the crock pot and then implement steps 7 & 8.

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