Middle-Eastern lamb done two ways

In this recipe Carmen Niehaus, food editor of You and Huisgenoot and author of Carmen’s Best Recipes, shows us how to cook a leg or shoulder of lamb two ways: grilled or slowly roasted. “The cumin adds a typical Middle-Eastern flavour and goes beautifully with aubergine,” says Carmen.

Serves: 6

Preparation time: 10 minutes plus 12 hours for marinating

Cooking time: 1 to 1 and 1⁄2 hours for grilling or 4 to 6 hours for slow roasting


80 ml (1⁄3 c) olive oil
(optional) 80 ml (1⁄3 c) plain yoghurt
50 ml dried oregano
8 cloves garlic, crushed
45 ml (3 T) ground cumin
juice and grated rind of 2 lemons
1,8 kg deboned leg or butterflied shoulder of lamb
Marinade (as above)
(To serve) vegetable kebabs and plain yoghurt stirred through with chopped cucumber, cumin and mint
1,8 kg leg or shoulder of lamb (bone in)
4 onions, cut in wedges
4 sprigs thyme
green rooibos tea or chicken stock
Marinade (as above)
(To serve) aubergine steaks and thyme salt


To make the marinade:

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and set aside.

For the grilled lamb

  1. Make incisions through the fat layer. Place the meat in a non-metallic dish. Pour over the marinade and marinate overnight or for 12 hours.
  2. Season the meat with salt and pepper and braai over medium coals for about 1 hour until soft and browned. Turn regularly and baste often with the marinade. Alternatively, place the meat on a rack in a roasting pan and roast in the oven at 160 °C for 20 minutes per 500g. Serve with vegetable kebabs and cucumber yoghurt.

For the slow-roasted lamb

  1. Do not debone the leg or shoulder when using this method.
  2. Place the onion wedges in a roasting pan with the thyme. Pour over enough green rooibos tea or chicken stock to cover the onions.
  3. Spread the marinade over the meat and place the lamb on top of the onions.  Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 4–6 hours at 120 °C until the meat is meltingly tender and falls off the bone.
  4. Remove the foil and grill under the oven grill until browned. Pull the meat apart using a spoon.
  5. Serve with baked aubergine steaks and thyme salt. (To make the thyme salt, mix equal quantities of sea salt flakes and thyme leaves with some freshly ground mixed peppercorns.)

This recipe is courtesy of Carmen’s Best Recipes by Carmen Niehaus, published by Human & Rousseau. (The book is also available in Afrikaans: Carmen se Beste Resepte deur Carmen Niehaus.) Recommended price of R260 at good book stores.

Carmen's Best Recipes

Leave a comment

Promoted Restaurants