Slow roast leg of lamb with herb rub

Preparation time
less than 30 mins
Cooking time
over 2 hours
Serves 5-7


Tender, slow-roasted lamb, infused with mellow garlic and herb flavours makes wonderful comfort food. This recipe makes its own delicious gravy too, perfect for a big meal with friends and family.

By Nigel Slater
From Nigel Slater’s Dish of the Day


  • whole head of garlic
  • 1 tbsp salt flakes
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only, chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • olive oil
  • 1 leg of lamb, approximately 2kg/4½lb

For the mashed potatoes

  • 1kg/2lb 4oz potatoes
  • 100g/4oz butter
  • 25g/1oz parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.
  2. Separate and peel the garlic cloves, and crush them with the salt in a pestle and mortar. You need enough salt to give the mixture some grit. Mash the garlic into the salt. Add the rosemary and thyme, then mix with enough olive oil to make a thick paste.
  3. Rub the garlic mixture over the whole surface of the lamb. Place the lamb into a deep sided roasting tin.
  4. Add 250ml/9fl oz of water to the roasting tin. Baste the meat with the liquid then cover the lamb with foil. Place in the oven and roast for 3-3½ hours, until cooked to your liking.
  5. When cooked, pour off any excess oil from the top of the liquid, leaving the cloudy, herby sediment in place. This is the gravy. Cover the pan with a lid and rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Cut up the potatoes and cook in boiling, salted water. When soft enough to mash, drain in a colander then mash with the butter and grated parmesan. Season well with salt and pepper.
  7. Carve the lamb into thick chunks and serve with the mashed potatoes. Pour over the pan juices.