Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Lemon and Many Herbs

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Telegraph food writer and James Beard award-winning cookbook author Diana Henry has published her new cookbook How to Eat a Peach celebrating menus, stories and places. She cooks up feasts for family and friends based on meals she has cooked and loved over the years. ‘This lamb came about because I couldn’t decide which herb to choose, so I just used several together, and I’ve now been making it for thirty years’, writes Diana. ‘The herb paste permeates every bit of the meat. Because it’s simple, I usually serve it with an unusual – but not complicated – side dish. The sarassou recipe (see recipe below) is excellent with the lamb, radishes and potatoes.’

Serves 6


For the lamb:

10g (¼oz) flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Leaves from 10 thyme sprigs
Needles from 2 rosemary sprigs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped, plus another 6
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1.8kg (4lb) leg of lamb

For the vegetables:

Big bunch of French breakfast radishes with good fresh, perky leaves
700g (1lb 9oz) baby waxy potatoes


1. The day before you want to serve the lamb, put the herbs, 4 chopped garlic cloves, salt and pepper into a mortar and grind to a paste, gradually working in the extra virgin olive oil and lemon zest as you do so. Make incisions all over the lamb with a sharp knife and loosen the meat round the protruding bone (at the tapered end of the joint) to about one-third of the way into the joint.

2. Rub the paste all over the lamb, down inside it, around the bone and into the incisions. Cut the remaining 6 garlic cloves into slivers, then push these down into the incisions as well. Cover loosely with cling film or foil and refrigerate for 24 hours, bringing it to room temperature before roasting (it will take about 2 hours for it to come to room temperature).

3. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

4. Put the lamb in a roasting tin and cook it for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and roast for another 45 minutes. The lamb will be pink. If you prefer it more well done, then cook for a little longer.

5. Cover with foil, insulate well (I use old towels or tea towels for this) and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Transfer to a warmed serving plate. Quickly heat the juices in the roasting tin and serve them in a small jug alongside; there may not be much, but that’s okay, it’s not supposed to be a ‘gravy’.

6. Meanwhile, carefully wash the radishes (trying not to squash the leaves). Gently dry them and put on a serving platter. Boil the potatoes until they are tender, drain, season with salt and add to the platter with the radishes. Serve with the lamb and the sarassou and broad beans overleaf.

Serve with Diana’s recipe for Sarrassou below.

‘I’m very fond of the various cheese-based dishes (sometimes there ’s little difference between them) that the French serve with vegetables, bread or crudités (claqueret, cervelle de canut, fromage fort). Sarassou (also known as sarasson) used to be made with buttermilk, but is now usually made with fromage frais from either cow’s or goat’s milk. (I sometimes add a little soft goat’s cheese to it, for more tang.) In some parts of France, it’s served with bread, in others potatoes, and also with pork and lentils. It’s very good – if unusual – within this menu of hot lamb and cold peppery radishes. I prefer it made with a mixture of fromage frais and crème fraîche, but make it with fromage frais alone, if you prefer. Don’t use low-fat stuff, though.’

Serves 6


125g (4½oz) fromage frais
125g (4½oz) crème fraîche
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ garlic clove, finely grated
Finely grated zest of ¼ unwaxed lemon
10g (¼oz) chives, finely chopped
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper


1. To make the sarassou, just stir everything together, taste, then adjust the seasoning. Cover and keep in the fridge (but take it out about 1 hour before you want to serve it, it shouldn’t be served fridge-cold).

Serve with the lamb, potatoes, radishes and broad beans.

This Leg of Lamb with Lemon and Many Herbs recipe is part of a larger menu that Diana created in her book How to Eat a Peach – links for the other recipes are below:

Elderflower Gin and Tonic

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

Broad Beans with Lettuce, Shallots and Mint

Pink Grapefruit and Basil Ice Cream


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