Roast Leg of Lamb with a Moroccan “Mechoui” Marinade

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

In Morocco, of course, this preparation implies a spit-roasted whole baby lamb. We have little occasion and space to do a classic mechoui but can recreate the taste with this simpler cut of meat.


  • 1 leg of lamb, 5 to 6 pounds
  • 5 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 tablespoons fruity olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


Trim excess fat from the leg of lamb. Make shallow incisions in the leg and insert a garlic sliver in each one. Combine the spices with the oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and cilantro to make a paste and rub the paste over the leg. Set the leg in a roasting pan, cover, and let stand 3 to 4 hours at cool room temperature or refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roast the leg until a meat thermometer registers 120°F for rare, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

Slice the leg and serve with couscous with almonds and raisins, and grilled eggplant and peppers basted with Moroccan Charmoula.