Slow-cooked Greek Easter lamb with lemons, olives & bay

Slow-cooked Greek Easter lamb with lemons, olives & bay

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(8 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 4 hrs, 30 mins plus resting


Serves 6
This authentic dish of meltingly tender leg of lamb is roasted with garlic, lemon and potatoes for an irresistible Sunday lunch centrepiece

Nutrition and extra info

  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal740
  • fat43g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs28g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre4g
  • protein59g
  • salt1.8g


  • 1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves, half peeled and sliced, half unpeeled
  • 8-10 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 lemons, cut into quarters lengthways



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 2½ kg leg of lamb
  • 50ml Greek extra virgin olive oil, plus 4 tbsp for the potatoes
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1kg Cypriot potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthways (if you can’t find these, any large, waxy variety is fine – try Desirée)



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 140g Greek Kalkidis olives (or other large pitted green olives)
    Bowl of olives



    Widely grown all over the Mediterranean, where they've been cultivated since biblical times…

  • 125ml red or dry white wine


  1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Arrange the unpeeled garlic cloves, 3 bay leaves and the lemon quarters in a large roasting dish and cover with 200ml cold water. Sit the lamb on top, drizzle with the olive oil and rub it in all over.

  2. Using a small sharp knife, cut small incisions in the lamb skin, then tuck the remaining peeled and sliced garlic and bay leaves into these slits.

  3. Season the lamb well and sprinkle over the cinnamon. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Leave to cook for 4 hrs, skimming the fat from the juices and removing the foil for the final 30 mins of cooking.

  4. After 1 hr, put the potato wedges in a large roasting tin, coat them in 4 tbsp olive oil and season well. Roast in the oven with the lamb for 11/2-2 hrs.

  5. Transfer the cooked lamb to a large piece of foil, wrap tightly and leave to rest for 20-30 mins. Check the potatoes are cooked (if you need to, turn the oven up to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 to finish cooking). Add the olives and wine to the pan juices, simmer them and keep warm until ready to carve. Serve the lamb thickly sliced with the olives, potatoes and Tahini & lemon sauce (see 'goes well with'), with the meat juices poured over at the last minute.

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Comments, questions and tips

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7th Aug, 2017
I should have taken heed of the other poor ratings. I used lovely fresh lemons, but still the meat juices at the end of cooking were so bitter that they were inedible. The meat was tender, and thankfully had not been too badly tainted by the bitterness, but it meant no meat gravy. I would strongly suggest an adjustment to the recipe, as a free range leg of lamb is not a cheap cut to ruin!
Minoo's picture
7th Mar, 2017
I really liked this! Definitely worth the wait of roasting it for so long. The lamb was garlicky, but not overwhelmingly so. I'd use fewer lemons next time as they made a really quite acidic gravy, but overall it was lovely.
30th Aug, 2015
Would have been better if the instructions were to sear/seal/brown first. Meat certainly did not fall off the bone like other recipes I have used. Won't be using again.
8th Apr, 2015
Stunningly good! The long slow cooking meant that the garlic slivers were completely cooked through inside the meat - which doesn't always happen with faster roasting methods - and the inclusion of bay leaves inserted into the meat gave a wonderful savoury flavour. I shall be doing this again!
5th Apr, 2015
Lovely lamb - succulent and tasty, but I missed the gravy and found the olives and wine just increased the acidity of the lemon sauce.
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