Daphne's ​Turkish-Spiced Leg Of Lamb

Just like a gyro but a full, delicious meal

Daphne's ​Turkish-Spiced Leg Of Lamb

Lamb is a type of meat that can be truly delicious if done correctly. Deep flavors and juicy cook, this recipe is the only one you will ever need. With spices like oregano, mint, parsley, and a beautiful garlic herb sauce, this lamb is easily the best dressed at any dinner party. It makes a good main dish for your Easter meal.

Prep Time: 25 minutes + 30 minutes tempering

Cook Time: 2 hours

Serves: 8 to 10


Turkish-Spiced Lamb:

  • 1 (4 to 5-pound) boneless leg of lamb
  • 2 fennel bulbs, fronds reserved and cut into 8 wedges through the core
  • 2 small red onions, cut into ½-inch thick wedges
  • 3 lemons, cut into halves
  • 2 full heads of garlic, broken into cloves, whole and unpeeled
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for drizzling
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 tablespoon cracked coriander seeds
  • ½ tablespoon cracked cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Garlic Herb Sauce:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or creamed
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • Reserved fennel fronds


For the Turkish-Spiced Lamb:

Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Remove the leg of lamb from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Quarter your fennel and red onions and be sure to save the fennel fronds. Place the fennel, lemons, red onions, and all except 6 cloves of unpeeled garlic in the bottom of a roasting pan

Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt, and place the rack on top.

Remove lamb from netting (if applicable) and use a paring or chef’s knife to cut so that lamb can lay flat onto your cutting surface with relatively even thickness across.

Cut away any extra gristle and any thick fat from inside of the lamb. Flip the lamb over and score the fat cap on the lamb in a crisscross pattern using a paring knife with shallow cuts (you don’t want to go much below the surface of the meat). Season the lamb with salt.

Peel the reserved garlic cloves and finely chop, then combine with the ¼ cup olive oil, oregano, mint, sumac, coriander, and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir until a paste forms.

Rub the mixture all over the leg of lamb, especially in the crisscross creases. Roll your lamb back into its original round form (fat cap facing up) and tie off six times with kitchen twine.

Place the leg of lamb, fat side up, on the roasting rack of the roasting pan. Add enough stock to coat the pan about ¼- to ½-inch and roast for 20 minutes.

Lower the oven to 350ºF and continue roasting for about 50 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 135ºF for medium-rare (start checking the temperature at 40 minutes!).

Add additional stock if it evaporates quickly, but towards the second half of cooking don’t replenish the stock so it evaporates and veggies become golden.

Remove and allow to rest tented with foil for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Slice the lamb into roughly ½” thick pieces. Drizzle any of the lamb juices over the top of the meat.

For the Garlic Herb Sauce:

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, pressed garlic, lemon zest, fennel fronds, oregano, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over the lamb and vegetables for a bright, acidic finish if desired.

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