Greek Orange Roast Lamb recipe

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  • Meat and poultry
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  • Roast lamb
  • Roast leg of lamb

In Greece, roast meat (lamb, beef, chicken) and potatoes is ubiquitous throughout the year. I tried this upon my return home and it is absolutely delicious! It may be awhile before I go back to lemons -- and this dish is as delicious as it is simple.

Greater London, England, UK

75 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 1 half leg of lamb
  • 10 to 12 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 5cm pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons dark french mustard
  • juice of one large orange
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:1hr ›Ready in:1hr30min

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4. In large bowl, whisk together the orange juice, mustard, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. Once combined, add potatoes to bowl and coat thoroughly with mixture. Transfer the potatoes to a large roasting tin.
  3. Next, cut 2cm deep slits into the lamb, and stuff the garlic cloves into the slits. Place the lamb into the bowl with the remaining orange juice mixture; coat thoroughly and transfer to roasting tin on top of potatoes. If any of the orange juice mixture remains in the bowl, pour over the lamb and potatoes.
  4. Bake uncovered until potatoes are done and lamb is medium / medium-well (approximately 60 minutes). Check every 20 to 30 minutes while baking, and add a bit of hot water if you find the potatoes are drying out.

Cook's note

If you prefer, use the juice of two lemons instead of the orange for another traditional preparation.

How to roast lamb

Watch our video to see how easy it is to roast lamb to perfection. Watch now!

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(5)

Reviews in English (6)

Very tasty and simple recipe. Washed down with a good bottle of greek red, it all goes together very nicely.-21 Mar 2011

Partner loved this and I liked it so this is a recipe we will repeat. I did it with mixed root veg, chunked red onion, unpeeled garlic cloves and lamb chops. As I used lamb chops I cooked the vegetables alone first and added the chops in latter.Served it with fresh bread. I love the sauce the forms in the bottom of the pan.-26 Jul 2010

Really nice, I didn't have any french mustard so used mayonnaise instead.-02 Mar 2016

Greek Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb

This is how the Greeks make roast lamb – cooked until tender, half braised in a garlic lemon flavoured liquid that transforms into a luscious sauce – no mucking around with gravy! This Greek Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb takes hours and hours to roast, but it is EASY, virtually foolproof and very hands off. A perfect centrepiece for Easter, Sunday Roast or any other occasion for feasting!!

How do I cook a leg of lamb?

Leg of lamb can be cooked to a rosy medium rare to be sliced and served with side dishes or cooked low and slow until it is fall-apart tender. To cook the lamb to a shreddable texture, season generously with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Add peeled and chopped potatoes, garlic, rosemary and oregano into an oven-proof pot (with a lid) and plae the lamb on top. Pour in white wine (you can use red if you want a darker gravy) and stock. Place in the oven and allow to slow roast for 3-4 hours until the lamb is tender. Remove the lid and turn up the heat to allow the lamb and potatoes to brown and crisp up.

Allow the lamb to rest for 10-20 minutes. At this point you can pull the lamb out of the pot and pour the gravy into a jug and allow the potatoes to continue roasting while the lamb rests. Slice/shred the lamb and serve with the gravy and potatoes.

Greek slow roasted goat (or lamb) leg

Slow roasted lamb (or goat) in the oven is widely favored in Greece, especially during Easter. Before Easter many Lenten recipes like this taramasalata dip, this Greek brown lentil soup and these Baked giant beans (Gigandes Plaki) are very popular!

There are a lot of Mediterranean recipes, some pretty simple and forward and others more complicated and complex. In my island, Crete, maybe the most delicious of all is also the simplest. Good quality meat gets rubbed with salt and pepper and is then barbecued (or baked in a wood-fired oven – YUM!) until done. That’s it! No other spices, no sauces, no butter, no olive oil, no nothing!

Salt and pepper are enough to make a dish you’ll remember for the rest of your life! BUT, (yeah… it seems there’s always a “but”!) the meat needs to be really good quality, meaning young, grass-fed and free-range if possible!

I don’t usually eat lamb or goat because of this reason. If the meat is not good enough, I find it has a strong taste/smell I cannot get accustomed to. I think this has something to do with the way the animals are raised and fed.

An animal that’s raised inside a stable, with no sun, with high levels of anxiety and low-quality food will taste a lot different from another one that’s raised in the fields, under the sun, happy, eating grass, herbs and other stuff.

So, when I happen to find a good piece of meat I don’t pass on the opportunity to cook something special! Sometimes, I’ll just stick with the Cretan tradition mentioned above and pop it in the oven with only some salt, pepper and a small drizzle of olive oil.

Others times, when I want something more festive, I’ll follow this recipe which uses a pomegranate syrup glaze. Pomegranate syrup, also known as pomegranate molasses, is just pomegranate juice that has been boiled down and concentrated into a thick sauce. It’s sweet and tangy and can be used in meat dishes and in salads as part of the dressing.

What temperature should goat meat be cooked to?

You don’t need an oven thermometer for this recipe and you don’t have to worry about the internal temperature of the meat. The slow roasting method cooks the meat perfectly and makes it fall-off-the-bone tender.

But if you just want to know, then for goat, the meat temperature should be about 150°F to 160 °F (65 °C – 70 °C).

How do you make goat meat tender?

First, you have to choose a young animal. Remember that the older the animal is, the more tough the meat will be.

Then, you should opt for a slow-roasting method which melts the collagen of the meat and turns it into gelatin, something that makes it tastier and much more tender. For this recipe, 356°F (180°C) may seem too high, but this is how it’s done for many years in most Greek homes and it works.

Some note/tips:

  • Long baking time will make the meat tender, succulent, and fall-off-the-bone! Just remember that lamb needs a little more time to cook than goat because it is higher in fat.
  • Search for good quality meat!
  • Instead of pomegranate syrup, you can use maple syrup, honey or grape syrup.
  • Don’t forget that goat/lamb meat loves rosemary and garlic!
  • Since you’re already using garlic, wrap some whole bulbs aluminum foil and bake them in the pan to get caramelized, roasted garlic. When done, open the foil, cut the bottom of the bulb and squeeze into a jar. Top will olive oil and store in the fridge or freezer. For more information, check this article from the kitchn.

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Yogurt-Marinated Leg of Lamb With Cardamom and Orange

Yunhee Kim for The New York Times Food stylist: Anne Disrude. Prop Stylist: Deborah Williams.

This wet-roasted leg of lamb doesn’t contain a ton of liquid — this is about roasting, not braising, and if you add enough liquid to a cut of meat, you’re not roasting any more. Instead, the lamb is moistened with a yogurt-based marinade laced with fresh mint, orange zest and cardamom. The yogurt keeps the surface of the lamb from drying out and — if you let the lamb sit for a while after you’ve smeared it with the marinade (and you should) — it permeates the meat a bit with the flavors of the marinade. This needs no accompaniment, but if you’re in the mood for some heat, a dab of harissa wouldn’t be out of place.

Don't know how to carve a lamb? Mark Bittman shows you how in this video.

Sherry-Orange Roast Lamb

Unroll roast, and trim fat. Reroll roast secure at 2-inch intervals with heavy string. Make 10 (1/2-inch-deep) slits in surface of roast stuff garlic halves into slits.

Combine juice and the next 6 ingredients (juice through bay leaf) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add the lamb seal and marinate in refrigerator 8 to 24 hours.

Remove lamb from bag, reserving marinade, and discard bay leaf. Place the roast on a broiler pan, and insert a meat thermometer into thickest portion of roast. Sprinkle the roast with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake the roast at 450° for 20 minutes, basting once with 1/4 cup reserved marinade. Reduce oven temperature to 400° (do not remove the lamb from oven) add quartered oranges, and bake 1 hour or until thermometer registers 145° (medium-rare) to 160° (medium). Let the roast stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Combine the pan drippings, the remaining marinade, and cornstarch in a small saucepan bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute. Stir in parsley. Serve sauce with lamb.

The oven needs to be preheated to 400 Degree Fahrenheit.

The next step is to take a large roasting pan and then, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt, oil, thyme, garlic and tomatoes must be added to the pan.

The strips of the orange zest have to be removed with the help of a vegetable peeler.

Then, the zest must be sliced thinly.

The lamb should be nestled in the tomatoes and you have to push them to the pans sides as required.

The lamb needs to be seasoned with 3/4 teaspoon pepper, 2 teaspoon salt and cumin.

You have to rub the lamb using orange zest.

Now, the lamb must be roasted to 1 hour and 30 minutes approximately. You can stop when the desired doneness is achieved.

Take a cutting board and the lamb has to be transferred into a cutting board.

Roast lamb the Greek way

As you see the lamb is very nice and browned, some may even say over done. It does have nice and charred edges. Greeks tend to like their lamb well done and it may look overly done but that is the way we like it – well done with a beautiful crispness to it but the interior is tender and oh so good.

This was my second time roasting a lamb. Big pieces of meat have always scared me but I am getting less afraid of cooking them. Lamb is always a treat and I always love a Greek style lamb. The flavours always take me back to big dinners with family. My mom didn’t make it often because us kids didn’t have an appreciation for it but we have grown to love it along with my grandparents and aunts roasted katsiki or goat.

The first time I had a whole roasted one was in Greece. I was like 12 probably and I remember it clearly as if it was yesterday. We arrived at my grandparents house late at night and early the next day I ventured out to use the bathroom (outhouse), to get the scare of a lifetime. I opened the door and before I could rub the sleep out of my eyes I was confronted with a hanging goat getting skinned by my uncle. Those few months were an eye opener in my life and were some of best filled memories of my childhood. That goat was part of my grandfathers herd. I got to go far into the mountains with him and my cousins, tend goats, milking them, watching babies get delivered, feeding the babies. It was amazing and then finally (I hate the way his sounds) eating that particular one from the mornings scare was a very delicious experience.

Slow-cooked Greek lamb

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and sit a shelf as low as possible. Pierce the lamb all over with a small knife, then fill each slit with a garlic clove and half an anchovy fillet. Rub all over with the oil, then season.

Heat a flameproof casserole dish and sear the lamb all over until well browned. Take off the heat, remove the lamb from the dish and tip in the tomatoes, carrots, sage and rosemary. Sit the lamb on top and scatter over the thyme.

Cover the dish, slip it onto the bottom shelf of the oven and cook for 4-5 hrs until pull-apart tender. Carefully lift the lamb from the dish, discard the herbs and roughly squash the tomatoes into the juices. Sit the lamb back in the dish and serve in big shredded chunks with tzatziki, chickpea salad and flatbreads for mopping up the juices.


The lamb can be slow-cooked up to two days ahead, then left to cool and chilled until you&rsquore ready to reheat. The fat from the lamb will solidify it can then be spooned off and discarded.

Nutritional Chart

Nutrition information per portion


Shows how much energy food releases to our bodies. Daily caloric intake depends mainly on the person’s weight, sex and physical activity level. An average individual needs about 2000 kcal / day.

Fatty Acids

Are essential to give energy to the body while helping to maintain the body temperature. They are divided into saturated "bad" fats and unsaturated "good" fats.

Saturated Fats

Known as "bad" fats are mainly found in animal foods. It is important to check and control on a daily basis the amount you consume.


The main source of energy for the body. Great sources are the bread, cereals and pasta. Use complex carbohydrates as they make you feel satiated while they have higher nutritional value.


Try to consume sugars from raw foods and limit processed sugar. It is important to check the labels of the products you buy so you can calculate how much you consume daily.


It is necessary for the muscle growth and helps the cells to function well. You can find it in meat, fish, dairy, eggs, pulses, nuts and seeds.


They are mainly found in plant foods and they can help regulate a good bowel movement while maintaining a balanced weight. Aim for at least 25 grams of fiber daily.

A small amount of salt daily is necessary for the body. Be careful though not to overdo it and not to exceed 6 grams of salt daily

*Based on an adult’s daily reference intake of 2000 kcal.

*The nutritional chart and the symbols refer to the basic recipe and not to the serving suggestions.