Roman Lamb


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    10 to 14


Appears in

An original and very old recipe from Italian friends in Northern Italy. This recipe has been handed down through the ages and is an absolute show-stopper at large family gatherings. After the initial browning of the meat, it cooks beautifully in a slow cooker or Crock-Pot®, slowly fragrancing the kitchen with a mouth-watering aroma. I have given the quantities that were originally given to me - for up to 14 hungry people, but the recipe can be halved for a smaller gathering. The legs of lamb I used were about 2 kilos each. If you are unsure about boning a leg of lamb yourself, ask your butcher to do it for you, or use ready boned and diced leg of lamb. Roman lamb is best served with plain, steamed potatoes and some fresh green beans. It is also makes a wonderful pie filling afterwards - that’s if you have any left.

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  • 2 legs of lamb, about 1.8kg to 2kg each
  • 150 g butter
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled
  • 1 × 125g tin of anchovies
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 lambs’ kidneys, soaked in milk, optional


  1. Bone and dice the legs of lamb into apple-size chunks. Drain and chop the lamb’s kidneys, if using, into small dice.
  2. Heat up small quantities of olive oil and butter together and brown the lamb pieces over a very high heat until nutty brown and completely sealed. DO NOT overcrowd the pan.
  3. Place the lamb pieces into a Crock-Pot® as you brown them, or into a large cast iron casserole dish with a lid.
  4. If using the kidneys, brown them quickly over a high heat too and add them to the lamb.
  5. In a food mixer/processor, blend the following ingredients: anchovies, rosemary leaves, peeled garlic cloves, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and the water. Blitz until thoroughly blended and smooth. Add to the lamb and kidneys in the Crock-Pot® or casserole dish and stir well. (Don’t worry if the mixture looks too thick - we still have all the lamb juices to cook into it all)
  6. Slow-Cooker/Crock-Pot®: Cook on automatic for up to 8 hours, OR on high for 4 hours and then low for up to 4 hours. The meat will be meltingly tender and will have made a gravy. To cook in the oven, cook in a pre-heated oven 120°C/250°F/Gas mark 1 with the lid on, for between 4 and 5 hours, or until the meat is soft and tender.
  7. Serve with seasonal fresh vegetables such as green beans, carrots and steamed or mashed potatoes.