Roast leg of lamb with garlic, rosemary and lemon

This is such a simple dish to cook – it takes five minutes to prepare and throw in the oven, and around 3 hours to cook – so you need to be home.

Apparently the recipe comes from St Andrews Limes in Hawkes Bay, as described by Peta Mathias in todays Sunday Star Times.


  • leg of lamb (we used a short forequarter which feeds our family of four nicely)
  • sprigs of rosemary
  • several lemons sliced thinly (as if you were making a gin and tonic)
  • cloves of garlic (as many as you want to use), peeled
  • salt and pepper
  • baking paper and butchers string


Pre-heat your oven to 150ºC.

Take your leg of lamb and make puncture holes all over. Push garlic cloves into these cavities.

Roll out the baking paper and line the bottom with slices of lemon. Put the lamb on top, then cover the lamb with more slices of lemon and the sprigs of rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.

Wrap the meat up in the paper to make a big parcel and tie it with butchers string so it won’t come apart in the oven. Place this is a roasting dish and put in the pre-heated oven and roast slowly for up to 3 hours.

When it’s cooked rest the meat for ten minutes, loosely wrapped in tin-foil, but still in the baking paper. To serve cut open this succulent package, carve and serve. Put the lemon (which will have stewed nicely) alongside the meat as an accompaniment.

This is a delicious way to cook lamb. Because you are not needing to use oil or any other cooking agent the meat stays very moist, very tasty, and very light to the palate.

Lamb with garlic
Surround lamb with lemons and rosemary
Parcel ready for roasting
Just after the parcel has been opened
Lamb with lemon and rosemary, ready for serving

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