How to cook the perfect roast lamb with fresh herbs

How to cook the perfect roast lamb with fresh herbs

By 23/03/2016

My mum was never a fan of lamb, infact she has never cooked it. We used to have lots of rabbit and chicken as my grandparents used to rear them but never lamb.

I guess in the region where I grew up there were not many pastures like you would find in the UK. The first time I spotted England from the plane it was the end of summer and I remember squealing with delight at the sight of that emerald green grass dotted with white.. all scattered around... those were lambs and sheep.. the countryside here is so beautiful.

Since moving to the UK lamb has become one of my favourite meats.

I have learned to cook it quite well and yes, it is fattier than beef but if you choose grass fed, good quality leg of lamb ( I go for organic if I can find it) than you will find it much leaner than some other cuts.

I am off to Italy soon and I have already announced to my family that I will be the chief cook...and I am bringing a leg of lamb in my suitcase! Easter is going to be roast lamb with potatoes, parsnips and lots of roasted veggies.

Lamb is easier to cook than beef which can be tough and chewy if you overcook it. I have trouble cooking roast beef. I have tried used meat thermomethers but I have always managed to get it wrong anyway. That's my next goal: learning to cook beef! If you have any tips for me they would be very welcome!

I usually serve lamb with roast potatoes, parsnips and mint sauce which you can either buy it or you can easily make up your own: a bunch of fresh mint leaves, olive oil, a splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt. Easy and refreshing.

  • Prep Time : 25 minutes
  • Cook Time : 1h 30 min



Remove the lamb from the fridge and let it get at room temperature.

Preheat the oven at 200C or 400F.

Prep your vegetables. It is best to parboil potatoes for a few minutes before roasting them. You can do that by peeling them and cutting them into quarters; put them in a pot covered with salty cold water and bring them to the boil for 7 minutes. Drain and let them steam dry for 3 minutes.

potatoes and parsnips

Wash your herbs and cut the rosemary spriggs into 1,5 cm or 0.6 inch pieces. Remove the thyme leaves from the sprig.

Fresh herbs

Place the lamb on a roasting tin. Using a sharp knife make about 20 deep incisions into the flesh. In a bowl mix 2 tbsp of olive oil, the thyme leaves, two pinches of salt and a grind of pepper. With your hands massage well the lamb with the mixture.

Cut each garlic clove into 2 pieces and fill each slit with it. Put a piece of rosemary into the cavities as well.

leg of lamb

Chop the spring onion

chopping onion

Pour the wine on the lamb and add the bay leaves. Finally add the spring onion and sprinkle it over the meat.

herbs on lamb

Cover the meat with tin foil. After 30 minutes remove the foil and continue roasting it for 50 to 60 minutes for medium, this depends if you like your meat rare or well done. Every so often baste the lamb with the juices from the pan to keep the meat moist.

The potatoes will take just over an hour to roast whereas the parsnips only take 30 to 35 minutes. So you need to add them later and you can put them in the same roasting dish sprinkled with salt and coated with olive oil. Turn the vegetables on both sides to allow them to roast evenly.

When it is cooked, remove the lamb from the oven and leave it to rest for 15 minutes in the roasting tin well wrapped with foil to keep it warm.

Roasted lamb with rosemary and thyme

Serve with mint sauce if you like.

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16 Responses to How to cook the perfect roast lamb with fresh herbs

    • Alida

      Thank you Vivian!

  1. Louise

    Lol, I’ve been known to stash some food items in my suitcase every now and again Alida but never a leg of lamb, lol…Good for you!!!

    I stink at making roast beef. I keep blaming it on the beef but I’m sure it is me:)

    Your lamb looks so unbelievably good I wish I could be in a suit case on my way to your house for Easter! Love the touch of wine and all those goodies.

    Thank you so much for sharing Alida. Have a wonderful time in Italy and Happy Easter!!!

    • Alida

      Thanks for your nice words Louise, I wish you a very happy Easter too xx

  2. Susan

    It looks beautiful. All of those herbs sound tasty. 🙂

    • Alida

      Thanks Susan x

  3. Elisabetta

    It’s funny but mum wasn’t keen on the smell of roasting lamb although she’d cook it. Dad and grandad took it in their Italian stride and loved it and so do I. My favourite joint is the leg but it must be well done – no pink for me. Accompanied by roast potatoes and carrots plus peas in fresh mint sauce like yours. Must stop now, I’m salivating, buon appetito 🙂

    • Alida

      Ciao Elisabetta e buona Pasqua!

  4. Claire Johnston

    I love cooking roasting beef. Always get a good cut. Rib is my favourite no matter how small or large it looks wonderful at the table. Always carve it I slices though. TIPS always brown on top of the stove, always cover in foil, always put into 200 oven & half way thru turn down to 190
    I use this method. 3 ribs 20 mins. 4 ribs 30 mins 5 ribs 40 mins take out immediately and cover with a towel leave for 20-30 minutes.
    Never fails me – tender and rare in the middle

    • Alida

      Thank you very much Claire. These are really good tips. I always cooked it at 200C only and I have never thought of turning down the temperature half way through. I will try next time.

    • Alida

      Thank you Julie!

  5. la cucina di Molly

    Mmmm…. mi sembra di sentirne il profumo, che meraviglia, complimenti! Un bacione!

  6. Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

    Lamb is without a doubt my favourite meat. Roast beef (however well it is cooked) I can take or leave…… but lamb…. slowly roasted with sprigs of rosemary and served with roasted root veggies is a regular in our house.
    I love that you have stuffed a leg in your suitcase…. I hope it didn’t set off the sniffer dogs!! Happy Easter xx

  7. Charlie @ The Kitchen Shed

    We always have Lamb at Easter, although I have never cooked it, my mum still makes it for us. I always think of it as a meat for special occasions (Maybe because it isnt cheap!!). I might be brave and try and cook this myself, it looks SO good!

    • Alida

      I find lamb much easier to cook than other types of meat and it is always so tasty.

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