Roast Leg of Lamb

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Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food


By Nik Sharma

Published 2018

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People are always surprised when I tell them that many Indians eat red meat, especially goat. Raan is perhaps the most glamorous testament to this affection. The word raan refers to a goat’s hind legs, which are tenderized by the acids in a buttermilk- or yogurt-based marinade and then slow-cooked until the meat is falling off the bone. My take on this classic dish is made with lamb instead of goat—it’s so much easier to find and work with—and a mixture of nuts and white wine. Because this lamb roast is rich, I serve it with cooked rice or Naan, cucumber salad, and some plain yogurt on the side.


  • 5 lb [2.3 kg] bone-in leg of lamb
  • 1 cup [240 g] plain full-fat yogurt, plus more for serving
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup [70 g] almonds
  • ½ cup [70 g] shelled pistachios
  • One 3 in [7.5 cm] piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 8 whole cloves
  • Seeds from 10 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup [240 ml] white wine
  • 2 Tbsp Ghee, melted
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves


Pat the lamb dry with paper towels. Trim and discard any excess fat. Using a sharp knife, score the meat by making shallow cuts. Put the lamb in a large resealable plastic bag and set aside.

In a blender, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, nuts, ginger, garlic, cloves, cardamom, juniper, peppercorns, turmeric, honey, and salt. Pulse on high speed until smooth. Pour the marinade into the bag, press out the air, and seal. Massage the lamb to coat evenly with the marinade and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, and preferably 24 hours.

When you’re ready to roast the lamb, preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Grease a large roasting pan with a little vegetable oil. Put the lamb in the roasting pan and add the wine. Tent the pan with aluminum foil and roast the lamb for 1 hour. Remove the foil and return the pan to the oven for 30 minutes more, basting the lamb every 10 minutes with the pan juices. Increase the heat to 425°F [220°C] and roast the lamb until the meat starts to brown and the internal temperature registers 145°F [63°C] for medium-rare, 160°F [71°C] for medium, or 170°F [77°C] for well done on an instant-read thermometer, another 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the lamb from the oven and let it rest, covered with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes. Transfer the hot lamb to a platter, drizzle with the melted ghee, and garnish with the mint leaves.

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