Roasted Leg Of Lamb

Roasted leg of lamb is a Greek classic, one of the most iconic recipes in the whole repertoire of Greek cuisine, and one played out millions of times over Easter, too. Greek lamb recipes are among the most popular in the world. This recipe, adapted from my very first book, The Food and Wine of Greece calls for some basic Greek herbs, such as dried oregano, as well as extra virgin Greek olive oil. If you add potatoes to the pan, go for small new potatoes. You can also make a separate tray of Greek Yiayia's roasted potatoes, too.


  • 3 to 6 garlic cloves to taste
  • cup olive oil or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoons or more crushed dried rosemary or dried oregano or both, to taste
  • Strained fresh juice of 4 lemons or more to taste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 leg of lamb trimmed, about 5 pounds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Small new potatoes whole or halved (optional)


  1. Finely chop 2 garlic cloves and combine them in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the dried rosemary and/ or oregano, juice of 2 lemons, and dry red wine to make a marinade. Marinate lamb in mixture, covered and refrigerated, for 6 to 12 hours, turning lamb every few hours.
  2. Remove lamb from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 450 F and lightly oil a large baking pan.
  3. With a mortar and pestle, crush together al but 1 of the remaining garlic cloves and remaining herbs. Remove lamb from marinade and reserve liquids. With a sharp knife, make ¾ inch slits all round leg of lamb and stuff garlic and herb mixture inside slits. Reserve a small amount of the mixture for the next step.
  4. Rub lamb with olive oil and 1 whole garlic clove, salt, pepper, and remaining herb mixture. Place lamb in prepared baking pan and arrange potatoes around it, if desired. Season potatoes with salt, pepper and juice of remaining 2 lemons. Pour marinade over lamb. Place uncovered in oven and reduce heat immediately to 350 F. Bake for 2 ½ hours (about 3 minutes per pound), or untul lamb is tender and slightly rare, and potatoes fork tender. Baste every 10 to 15 minutes with pan juices. If potatoes need more liquid, add a little water to the pan during cooking.

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