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Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Za'atar

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time:3 hour(s)
Total Time:3 hour(s)30 mins

Warning: This lemony, herbaceous roasted lamb will elicit a bounty of oohs and ahhs when you bring it to the table. The lamb is first marinated with za'atar, preserved lemons and lots of garlic. Then it's slowly roasted, rested and roasted once more at high heat. The result? A succulent, juicy roast with a crispy, caramelized exterior. Serve alongside Farro Salad with Spring Vegetables and Lemon Tahini Dressing for a truly show-stopping feast.

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats' "Slow-Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb" by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Food styling and photography by Asha Loupy. This recipe was originally published April 2019.

Serves 6-8


Special equipment

  • Butcher's twine


Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add the garlic and shallots, and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped preserved lemon, 2 tablespoons za’atar and 2 teaspoons salt. Let cool to room temperature.

Lay the butterflied leg of lamb on a large plastic cutting board, fat cap-side down. Rub the inside of the lamb with the room temperature garlic and za’atar paste. Roll the lamb and tie at one inch intervals with butcher’s twine. Rub the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the outside of the lamb and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of za'atar and teaspoon of salt. Transfer to a large plate or dish, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight (overnight marinating recommended).

About an hour before cooking , take the lamb out of the refrigerator. Unwrap the leg of lamb, transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet fitted with a baking rack and let come to room temperature.

While the lamb is coming to room temperature, preheat the oven to 275°F.

Roast the lamb uncovered until the it reaches 125°F to 130°F for medium-rare, or 130°F to 135°F for medium, about 1 1/2-2 hours, depending on the size of your roast and your desired doneness. Remove the lamb from the oven and let rest for 45 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 500°F and roast the lamb for 10 minutes until brown and caramelized on top. Let rest 10 minutes and then carve into 1/4-inch slices.