Roast Leg of Lamb with Fennel and Orange Rub

Roast Leg of Lamb with Fennel and Orange Rub

Do you love lamb? Or do you find the meat too gamey? I belong to the first camp. I have always loved lamb.

Go for the Lamb

Back home in Malaysia, when I was growing up, my dad would throw a party once a year for all the employees under him (he was GM of a big company at that time) at our house. It was mostly catered and one of the memories I have of this time involve the caterers bringing a whole lamb on a spit to roast in our garden. So every year, I got to feast on roast lamb. It was the best!

Of course we ate lamb at other times. I remember having lamb chops every so often with my uncle and cousins (and always with mint jelly) and that was also such a special treat. I can understand why the smell can be off-putting to some people, but for me, it’s a wonderful meat and anytime, I’m presented with a choice of lamb or any other meat, you can betcha I’m going to go for the lamb.

And if you don’t like the taste of lamb, do as Jeffrey Steingarten did (not on lamb but other things he didn’t like)–eat it at least 8-10 times before giving up on it and then get back to me! It’s too delicious to wrinkle your nose at before giving it a true chance.

Our Go-To Roast Lamb Recipe

This particular roasted lamb is really easy to do. As a matter of fact, we had guests over the other day and it’s easy enough that you could do this for a weekday dinner (rather special for a weekday dinner but that doesn’t have to stop you). The only thing you need to do is prepare and marinate this one day ahead. Then it’s in the oven for the rest of the time. So much easier than a stir-fry!

Believe it or not, this recipe comes from “Cooking in Style the Costco Way“. Yup, the Costco cookbook! I would never have found it if not for a friend who made it for a potluck and then told me about it. I’ve made it three times since I got it and even though there are other roast lamb recipes I want to try out there, this one is so delicious that I always end up going back to it.

Try it and tell me if you agree with me on how absolutely fabulous it is.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Fennel and Orange Rub

Finely minced zest of 2 oranges
2 Tbsp toasted fennel seed, ground
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper (I just grind it along with the fennel)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary (about 6-8 sprigs’ worth)
2 tsp minced fresh garlic (about 4 medium cloves and you might get more but you know me, more is always good!)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 lbs boneless, trimmed Australian leg of lamb

Marinade Ingredients for Roast Lamb

Marinade Ingredients for Roast Lamb

1. To prepare the rub, place the grated orange zest, fennel seed, salt, pepper, mustard, rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a small bowl and mix together well.
2. Rub 1/3 of the rub mixture over the inside surfaces of the leg. Tie the roast together with 3 pieces of string. Rub remainder of rub all over the outside of the roast.

Leg of Lamb Marinating

3. Place a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan or sided baking sheet. Marinate, covered and refrigerated, for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight (I find that overnight is best but make sure to take the roast out of the fridge at least 30 minutes to an hour before baking).
4. When ready to roast, preheat oven to 450 F.
5. Roast lamb for 15 minutes, then turn oven temperature down to 325F. Continue roasting for about 1 hour, or until internal temperature is 135-140F (med-rare).
6. Let the lamb rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. To serve, remove string and cut against the grain in thin slices. Makes 8-10 servings.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Fennel and Orange Rub

Roast Leg of Lamb with Fennel and Orange Rub

Serve alongside roasted aioli potatoes and a simple salad.


Cheers, Annie

26 thoughts on “Roast Leg of Lamb with Fennel and Orange Rub”

  1. >I’m familiar with the ingredients you used for this marinade and it transforms lamb into a meaty delight.

    Perfectly cooked, surely delish.

  2. >This looks wonderful. I’m with you on the whole lamb thing. We never had it growing up – my mom finds the very idea kind of horrifying. Once I had it after moving away, though, I was hooked and now I’ll almost always choose lamb over beef.

    It’s funny – we did an orange and fennel roast duck this past weekend that I’m still waiting for my husband to write up. They’re a great combination of flavors!

  3. >That looks divine! I’ve always been intimidated by roasts, but this seems like something I could actually accomplish.

  4. >Wow, your roast came out pretty perfectly! I’ll have to take Mr. Steingarten’s advice…I think I have about 2 more tries to go 🙂

  5. >Oh, yum! I usually marinate lamb in yogurt/lemon/rosemary, a la Barefoot Contessa, but I love the combination of spices here and will definitely try it. The photos are mouthwatering!

  6. >Looks heavenly. I have a boneless leg in the freezer and I’m looking for the perfect recipe…This one sounds delicious. Great photo!

  7. >This sounds (and looks) fantastic! It just so happens, I was given a freezer full of lamb from a friends’ farm and I am looking for great lamb recipes. This one definitely fits the bill. I especially love the orange. Will be trying it for sure!

  8. >@all – thanks for your comments!

    @Peter M – thank you!

    @Fearless Kitchen – I’d love to see your recipe. Ping me when you post it!

    @Courtney – I say go for it!

    @Lydia – These marinade ingredients have powerful flavors. Perfect compliment for lamb!

    @kellypea – let us know if you do it!

    @Madeline – a freezer full of lamb?! That sounds awesome!

  9. >I love lamb but have never cooked it at home because I thought it would be too complicated. Your recipe sounds really simple, though, so I must try it.

    On a cold winter day, nothing is more soothing than a nice bowl of lamb stew! (Well, maybe a toss up between that and a good bowl of won ton min.)

  10. >i never find lamb to gamy.. unless it’s prepared by an idiot of course.. but that doesn’t count right? assuming it’s all fresh and good, a lil bit of meaty stinky kick is always welcome!

  11. >Danggg… That looks good. Fennel and orange is an amazing combo when done right.
    My buddy behind said “that meat is still raw.” Looks perfectly cooked to me 🙂

  12. >@Jenster – please try it, and let us know how it comes out for you!

    @Cumi & Ciki – gamey is not as scary a flavor as it used to be…and it shouldn't be!

    @noobcook – thanks!

    @Jude – truth be told, I think the meat is a little /over/done!

    @ces – I'd say medium. I wish it were medium rare.

  13. >This looks really delicious. Living in Australia, lamb is practically part of our staple diet, and I am always looking for different ways to prepare it. I will definitely try your recipe next time I cook a leg of lamb.

  14. >i can’t imagine my life w/o lamb in it. before i met my husband (who is English and I’m American), I barely ever ate it. Now it’s almost a weekly treat and I can’t imagine it any other way. This looks beautiful and I LOVE the use of orange.

  15. >@Gail – please let us know how it turns out for you!

    @we are never full – I love the orange as well. It is a really standout flavor.

  16. >Just thought I’d drop by again and let you know I made this last night and it was unbelievable!!! I marinated lamb chops and threw them on the grill. The flavors were so interesting and complimentary. And the smell was amazing! This is by far my new favorite lamb recipe. Fantastic!

  17. >@Madeline – oooh, lamb chops! I think we’ll have to do that next time. Thanks for the idea! I look forward to your writeup.

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