Roast Saddle of Lamb with Thyme and Mustard Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Cooking for Christmas

Cooking for Christmas

By Josceline Dimbleby

Published 1978

  • About

If you want a change from roast beef or pork over Christmas you might treat yourself to a saddle of lamb. A saddle is a magnificent looking joint and will feed 8-12 people depending on its size. Carve the meat in long, thin strips down the length of the joint.


  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons (4 x 15 ml spoons) olive oil, plus extra
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • a saddle of English lamb
  • 2 tablespoons (2 x 15 ml spoons) fresh thyme leaves
  • salt, black pepper

For the sauce

  • 1 oz (25 g) butter
  • 1 oz (25 g) cornflour
  • ½ pint (300 ml) milk
  • 1 rounded tablespoon (15 ml spoon) fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 rounded teaspoons (2 x 5 ml spoons) whole-seed mustard
  • 2-3 pinches of cayenne pepper (chilli powder)
  • salt


If possible, prepare the joint the night before. Mix the lemon juice in a bowl with the olive oil an chopped garlic and season with salt and black pepper. Rub the lamb all over with this mixture. Sprinkle the thyme on the underside of the meat and press it into any cracks. Leave the joint underside up so that the thyme stays on the flesh. Cover the pan and leave in a cool room for several hours or overnight.

Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/350°F/180°C. Turn the joint over in the pan and smear the fat with a little more olive oil and salt. Roast in the centre of the oven for 15-25 minutes per pound, basting occasionally.

When the lamb is nearly ready start making the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove from the hear and blend in the cornflour. Gradually stir in the milk and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer gently, still stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the thyme and mustard. Remove the lamb to a carving board and pour away the excess fat from the pan. Add the remaining pan juices to the sauce. Lastly season to taste with cayenne pepper (chilli powder) and sale and serve in a sauce boat to accompany the meat.