Slow-Cooked Herbed Leg of Lamb with Fresh Herb and Arugula Salad

5 from 1 vote

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A tangle of fresh greens plays so beautifully against the rich lamb. This is a very impressive but very easy main dish.

Slow Cooked Herbed Leg of Lamb with Fresh Herb and Arugula Salad

This slow-cooked leg of lamb is a good old-fashioned showstopper of an entrée. It’s the kind of dish where you should not pretend to be bashful, “What, this old thing? I just threw it together from stuff in the fridge,” but rather take your accolades with modesty and grace. This herbed leg of lamb recipe has so much flavor, and it doesn’t even need to marinate overnight!

I love serving any kind of protein (from a sliced tenderloin roast to roasted salmon) finished with a pile of herby greens. The contrast of warm and cool, rich and fresh, tender and crisp it wows me every single time, and I hope you’ll agree.

This would be great served over couscous, either Lebanese, Israeli, or Mediterranean (I am nuts for the bigger versions of couscous), or classic small couscous. Saffron Couscous is an extra special accompaniment.

Slow Cooked Herbed Leg of Lamb with Fresh Herb and Arugula Salad on plate.

Slow-Cooked Herbed Leg of Lamb Ingredients

For the Lamb

  • Leg of lamb – I use a semi-boneless leg of lamb for this recipe.
  • Garlic – Gets blended into the seasoning rub for the lamb.
  • Oregano and Thyme – You can use either fresh or dried herbs in this recipe.
  • Ground coriander – A spice with a nice citrusy brightness.
  • Smoked paprika – You can substitute whatever type of paprika you have in your pantry.
  • Cumin – Adds a little warmth.
  • White wine – The alcohol cooks out in the oven but amplifies the flavors in the lamb.
  • Chicken broth – It may seem odd to see chicken broth in a lamb recipe, but trust me, you will be hard-pressed to find lamb broth at your local supermarket.
  • Honey – Adds a touch of sweetness and balances out the sauce.

For the Herb Salad

  • Lemon juice – Adds brightness and acidity.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – This salad is simple, so use your best olive oil here.
  • Honey – Adds sweetness, balancing the acidity of the lemon.
  • Red onion – Sub in another color if that’s what you have.
  • Arugula – The pepperiness of arugula goes so well with the richness of the lamb.
  • Chervil leaves – If you can’t find chervil, substitute a mix of tarragon and parsley.
  • Cilantro leaves – Skip this if you’re not a fan.
  • Parsley leaves – More herbaceousness!
  • Cooked couscous – For serving (optional). Mediterranean, Lebanese, or Israeli couscous will all work.
Slow Cooked Herbed Leg of Lamb with Fresh Herb and Arugula Salad on a platter.

How to Make Slow-Cooked Herbed Leg of Lamb

  1. Season the lamb: Blend the garlic, oregano, thyme, coriander, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper together. Rub that herby mixture all over your lamb and let it sit for 45 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Prepare to roast: Mix the white wine, broth, honey, salt, and pepper in the roasting pan and place the lamb top, fat side up.
  3. Cook: Bake the lamb for 2 ½ to 2 ¾ hours. Then turn up the heat and roast for another 15 minutes so it gets nice and browned on top. Remove when it reaches the desired temperature: 125 degrees for rare, 130 to 135 degrees for medium-rare. 
  4. Make the salad: Stir together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Add the onions, arugula, chervil, cilantro, and parsley and toss to coat.
  5. Serve: Slice the lamb and serve it over couscous with the herb salad right on top.
White plate with Herbed Leg of Lamb and Arugula Salad, fork, and spoon.

FAQs

What is semi-boneless leg of lamb?

A semi-boneless leg of lamb is a leg where the shank and blade bones have been removed, just leaving the main leg bone. This means that there is leg bone (so more meat per roast) and that it will be easier to slice after cooking because those extra bones aren’t in the way.

Should you cover leg of lamb while roasting?

It won’t hurt if you cover your lamb while roasting, but it is not necessary. If you leave it uncovered, you will get a beautiful browned crust on the outside and tender meat inside. If you peek in the oven and the top of your lamb is getting a little too browned, cover it with some foil to protect the outside while the lamb finishes cooking inside.

What is the best temperature for cooking leg of lamb?

Lamb can be successfully cooked at a number of temperatures. In this recipe, the leg of lamb is cooked low and slow at a temperature of 225 degrees. This may seem super low, but in about 2 ½ to 3 hours, all of the tough sinews holding together the meat melt away, and the lamb gets ultra-tender and juicy.

Recipe Variations

  • If you want a deeper flavor, rub the lamb with the marinade, loosely tent with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Bring the lamb to room temperature before cooking.
  • If you want to add a creamy, saucy note, you could mix up some crème fraiche or Greek yogurt with a few pinches of ground coriander, cumin, a lemon’s worth of juice, and a handful of chopped fresh parsley.

Leftovers

And if you have leftovers (and you likely will), you are so in luck. You can make lamb crostini (an appetizer born from leftovers of this recipe), shepherd’s pie, or lamb chorba (just dice the cooked lamb and add it towards the end).

Lamb Crostini with Spiced Crème Fraiche and Herbs  on a earthen serving plate.

What to Serve With Slow-Cooked Leg of Lamb

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5 from 1 vote

Slow-Cooked Herbed Leg of Lamb with Fresh Herb and Arugula Salad

A tangle of fresh greens plays so beautifully against the rich lamb. This is a very impressive but very easy main dish.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 People
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Ingredients 

  • 1 6-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Herb Salad:

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 225 F.
  • In a small food processor, combine the garlic, oregano, thyme, coriander, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the lamb and let it sit for about 45 minutes to come to room temperature.
  • Combine the white wine, chicken broth, and honey in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. Place the lamb in the roasting pan, fat side up.
  • Cook the lamb for 2 ½ to 2 ¾ hours, until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 125 F. Turn the heat to high, and roast for another 15 minutes until the top and sides get a bit browned (the oven temperature might not get all the way to 500 F in 15 minutes, which is fine.). Check the temperature: 125 F for rare meat, 130 to 135 F for medium-rare. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest on a cutting board for at least 30 minutes so that the juices stay in the meat when you cut it.
  • Just before you are ready to carve the meat, in a large mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, and honey. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the sliced onions. Add the arugula, chervil, cilantro, and parsley to the bowl and toss to coat with the dressing.
  • Place the hot couscous on a large serving platter. Slice the lamb and arrange it over the couscous. Arrange the herb salad over the meat and serve.

Notes

If you wanted to add a creamy, saucy note, you could mix up some crème fraiche or Greek yogurt with a few pinches of ground coriander, cumin, a lemon’s worth of juice, and a handful of chopped fresh parsley.

Nutrition

Calories: 248kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 91mg, Sodium: 166mg, Potassium: 567mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 547IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 4mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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