Syrian Style Roast Leg of Lamb

6 Jan

I was very lucky to have been given some fabulous cookbooks by my best buddy Ria. Ah she knows me so well! One is titled Almond Bar, written by Sharon Salloum, co-owner and chef of Almond Bar restaurant in Sydney, who was bought up in a traditional Syrian household. Ooh I’d love to go and eat there! Her recipes are based on family traditions, but adapted for the modern kitchen.

Syrian Lamb

As soon as I saw her recipe for roast leg of lamb, I knew I would make it for New Year’s Eve. We had family visiting from Spain and were going to have a fairly typical Spanish Family Celebration meal – masses of seafood and shellfish to start, lamb for main course, flan (or crème caramel to us!), fruit, Spanish biscuits, turrón and 12 grapes at midnight. The lamb was not typically Spanish because of the spices, but it was a big hit with everyone. The meat is cooked on high to start with then slowly cooked to tender perfection. Don’t wait until next New Year’s Eve to try this, I know I won’t be waiting that long!

(Apologies for the photo, it’s a cropped section of a family snap which also featured the lamb…)

Serves 8-10 (but you can scale it down for a smaller leg of lamb)

  • 2.5kg leg of lamb, bone in
  • 60ml olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 8 cloves crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 3 teaspoons salt flakes
  • 6 cloves of sliced garlic
  • About 10 small sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 glass of white wine (not in the original recipe)

Preheat the oven to 200C (fan)/425F/Gas 7

Mix the oil with the spices, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rub the mix all over the leg of lamb then cut small incisions all over the lamb with a sharp pointed knife. Push the garlic and rosemary sprigs into the incisions.

Place the lamb in a deep oven dish and bake on high for an hour, turning after 30 minutes to brown on both sides. Pour the wine over the meat, cover the dish with foil to make a tent and reduce the oven temperature to 170C (fan)/375F/Gas 5 and return to the oven. Cook for another 2 ½ – 3 hours, basting every 20 minutes (but don’t stress if you do it a little less).

When the lamb is cooked, remove from the oven, keep it warm (I wrap it in foil and a couple of towels) and leave to rest for 15-30 minutes and serve with all the beautiful juices you will have left in the pan.


56 Responses to “Syrian Style Roast Leg of Lamb”

  1. yummyinsidemytummy January 6, 2015 at 19:40 #

    Looks delish!

  2. Mad Dog January 6, 2015 at 19:45 #

    That sounds delicious! Someone gave me some sumac for Christmas, which I’ve yet to play with – I bet there are a few recipes using it, in that book.
    Happy New Year to you and Big Man 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 09:41 #

      What a great present you got too! I think there are a lot of recipes that feature sumac – will be sure to look some out J

  3. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise January 6, 2015 at 19:55 #

    Just reading the spice list made me hungry!
    This must have smelled and tasted heavenly.
    I love it when friends get me cookbooks or beautiful unique old plates. My husband always rolls his eyes when I get excited about a plate or cup lol but I know you understand

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 09:42 #

      Oh Sawsan – I completely understand! Luckily Big Man finally gets it too 😉

  4. restlessjo January 6, 2015 at 20:09 #

    I love that last paragraph! I’m going to deck mine out in a scarf and mittens to rest 🙂 Well, I would if I ever cooked it! I’m never sure what to do with meat while it rests but a pillow and a cosy blanket seems a good plan 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 09:43 #

      A well rested leg of lamb is a happy leg of lamb 😉 Maybe I could get Big Man to design me a little deck chair to rest joints of meat in!!!

  5. cookinginsens January 6, 2015 at 20:37 #

    Wonderfully spiced!

  6. 76sanfermo January 6, 2015 at 20:41 #

    Rene’s mother was Syrian , so in his house-hold they use a lot this kind of cuisine!
    Thanks for this recipe , unknown to me , I’ll show them ASAP !
    Happy new year , once more!

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 09:44 #

      The best families are like a pizza with different toppings – a mix of nationalities and cultures J

  7. Ginger January 6, 2015 at 21:00 #

    This looks so amazing – we’ll be having that way before the New Year! Happy Reyes!!

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 09:44 #

      Thanks Ginger – hope you enjoyed the Roscón you made!

  8. cecilia January 6, 2015 at 22:25 #

    Gosh that sounds reallly good.. and that pic is not bad either..c

  9. Jasline @ Foodie Baker January 7, 2015 at 04:45 #

    I recently fell in love with roast leg of lamb, after trying it at my friend’s house for Christmas. Yours look delicious! Will suggest to my friend so that we can make it together next time (:

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 09:46 #

      Oh do give it a go – I think lamb is my favourite red meat and this dish keeps the wonderful flavour of the lamb whilst adding some beautiful spices and flavours.

  10. Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 7, 2015 at 04:55 #

    Great timing Tanya. I’m having a dinner party in a few weeks and need some inspiration. All the best for 2015!

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 09:47 #

      All the best to you too Tandy – this would be a great dinner party dish as you start to prepare it well ahead and it doesn’t need too much looking after!

  11. cathyandchucky January 7, 2015 at 06:22 #

    Yummo! I had a leg of lamb for tea just last night but it was baked naked 😉. I shall give the spice thing a go next time thanks Chica.

  12. toddfisk January 7, 2015 at 08:38 #

    that lamb looks amazing! I want to stuff it forth into my throat with great enthusiasm!

  13. themateriallady January 7, 2015 at 12:09 #

    Tummy rumbles aplenty with that description. I can almost smell it – but that may be wishful thinking!
    I love the idea of 12 grapes at midnight. Presumably some sort of Spanish tradition?

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 09:49 #

      Yes, the grapes are a Spanish tradition (and we got to celebrate midnight twice, once at 11pm which was Spanish midnight) then again at UK midnight! You eat one grape (they now sell in Spain very small, peeled unseeded grapes to make choking less likely) on each “bong” – one for each month full of luck J

  14. Michelle January 7, 2015 at 16:26 #

    Sounds wonderful. Happy new year!

  15. Lynn January 7, 2015 at 17:51 #

    I love lamb, and I think the picture looks very acceptable.
    Did you do anything special yesterday? Lynn x x

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 09:50 #

      HI Lynn and thanks for the card! Yes, we went with M to my parents and raised a glass or two – I think we’ve celebrated Reyes more times in England now than in Spain 😉

  16. Linda Duffin January 7, 2015 at 20:14 #

    Looks and sounds delicious. HNY!

  17. narf77 January 7, 2015 at 23:18 #

    Looks seriously delish Ms Chica. If I was a meat muncher, I would be on this like a tick on a dog, but alas, I am not. I don’t think that slathering a mound of tofu with this unctuous mix is going to work as well as it does on this lamb. I might just leave this one to you meat eaters to enjoy 😉

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 09:52 #

      Yes, this one’s not for you L I did compensate a day or so later with the most mammoth, colourful and delicious salad!

      • narf77 January 10, 2015 at 19:31 #


  18. Margot @ Gather and Graze January 8, 2015 at 02:06 #

    Next time we roast lamb, this is the recipe I’m trying! It sounds like an absolutely delicious mix of spices and flavours. Yum!

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 10:00 #

      It’s a gorgeous spice mix which would be so good rubbed over a chicken too I think!

  19. Florence January 8, 2015 at 09:42 #

    Happy New Year! Wishing you both all the best for 2015 xx

    • Chica Andaluza January 9, 2015 at 09:53 #

      Hello! Hope you are both well and wishing you a great 2015 too – will let you know when we’re next back xx

  20. Karen January 10, 2015 at 15:41 #

    What a delicious sounding lamb recipe…the spices must make it extremely flavorful.

  21. kathryningrid January 12, 2015 at 04:54 #

    Ohhh, Tanya, this sounds spectacular!!! 😀
    Happy 2015, with lots of great eating of course!

    • Chica Andaluza January 13, 2015 at 09:49 #

      Thank you Kathryn – and al the same good wishes to you!!

  22. bitsandbreadcrumbs January 13, 2015 at 16:04 #

    This look absolutely amazing! I love it when you get new cookbooks because you always use and post the recipes! I think I’ll make this next time we have company. Happy New Year!

  23. Jean | January 15, 2015 at 16:27 #

    That is THE most perfect looking leg of lamb I’ve seen! Good job!

  24. fati's recipes January 21, 2015 at 15:18 #

    As a Syrian, I’m really happy to have bumped into this delicious looking roast! 😉 Finally, I can make a lamb roast I can call ‘from home’ – something I haven’t done ever!

  25. Maulana Angga February 9, 2015 at 09:28 #

    Looks beatiful and sounds wonderful. Really like it!

    • Chica Andaluza February 9, 2015 at 18:32 #

      The lamb was so very tender and tasty – a really lovely way to cook it.

  26. abdunnavi February 24, 2015 at 23:50 #

    wow, … New Year’s Eve special, it looks tasty cooking,

    • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2015 at 10:06 #

      Thanks for all your messages – glad you are enjoying the blog and the recipes 🙂

      • abdunnavi February 28, 2015 at 13:10 #

        okey,…keep moving
        good job hehe

  27. sandal boneka April 14, 2015 at 18:44 #

    Grilled chicken that tastes good everywhere, and make cakes bills and so definitely adds. 🙂

    • Burhan October 27, 2015 at 14:40 #

      looks tasty yum.. indonesia it calls “ayam bakar”. usually it deserve for party

      • Chica Andaluza October 27, 2015 at 18:52 #

        Yes, here it is celebration food too!

  28. Debby Aripianusari April 23, 2016 at 04:50 #

    thanks for the recipe 😀

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