Lamb Pot Roast with Oranges and Olives

This meltingly tender and flavorful Lamb Pot Roast with Oranges and Olives has true star appeal. Show off even more by making your own beef stock (click for recipe).


  • 1 4–5-lb. boneless lamb shoulder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 mandarin oranges or tangerines, unpeeled, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup Taggiasca or other fruity, brine-cured black olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh savory or rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1½ cups beef stock (click for recipe) or low-sodium chicken broth

Recipe Preparation

  • Holding knife parallel to work surface, cut lamb lengthwise, following seam where bone was removed and stopping about ½” before you get all the way through. Open lamb like a book and season all over with salt and pepper. Close, wrap tightly in plastic, and chill at least 8 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Open lamb and arrange garlic on bottom half, leaving a 1” border. Top with orange slices and olives. Sprinkle with savory and red pepper flakes. Close lamb and tie at 1” intervals with kitchen twine.

  • Place lamb on a wire rack set inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until nicely browned, 30–40 minutes. Remove lamb from oven.

  • Reduce oven temperature to 300°. Carefully transfer lamb to a large heavy ovenproof pot and add stock, wine, and tomato purée. Cover and braise lamb, basting with braising liquid every 30 minutes, until golden brown and fork-tender, 2½–3 hours. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

  • Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let rest at least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve with braising liquid.

  • DO AHEAD: Lamb can be seasoned 1 day ahead; keep chilled. Lamb can be braised 2 days ahead; cover and chill.

Recipe by Taylor Boetticher, Toponia Miller,

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 430 Fat (g) 16 Saturated Fat (g) 5 Cholesterol (mg) 165 Carbohydrates (g) 10 Dietary Fiber (g) 2 Total Sugars (g) 5 Protein (g) 53 Sodium (mg) 540Reviews Section

Greek Orange Roast Lamb

In Greece, roast meat (lamb, beef, chicken) and potatoes is ubiquitous throughout the year. Upon my most recent visit to Athens, my aunt let me in on a secret that takes this traditional dish to another level. Instead of the usual lemon juice, she said, add the juice of one orange. I tried this upon my return home and it is absolutely delicious! It may be awhile before I go back to lemons -- and this dish is as delicious as it is simple.

Sweet-and-sour eggplant and onion stew

From How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking How to Roast a Lamb by Michael Psilakis

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  • Categories: Stews & one-pot meals Side dish Main course Greek Vegan Vegetarian
  • Ingredients: cipollines onions tomato sauce tomato paste cinnamon sticks thyme Greek oregano eggplants

Recipe Summary

  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • One 5-pound butterflied leg of lamb
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for rubbing
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine the thyme with the orange and lemon zest. In another small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices.

Set the lamb on a work surface, fat side down. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the citrus juice over the lamb, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with two-thirds of the zest mixture. Roll up the lamb and tie it at 3-inch intervals with kitchen twine. Rub the lamb with olive oil and the remaining zest mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Set the lamb in a medium roasting pan. Pour in the wine and 1/4 cup of water and roast for 30 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400°. Pour 2 tablespoons of the citrus juice over the lamb. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and roast the lamb in the upper third of the oven for 45 minutes. Pour the remaining citrus juice over the lamb and roast for about 20 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 145°.

Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes. Scrape the pan juices into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Remove the twine from the lamb and carve the meat into thick slices. Serve the lamb with the sauce.

One Chap's Pantry

5-6 lb bone-in Leg of Lamb
6-8 cloves Garlic, minced
6-8 cloves Garlic, sliced in half horizontally
2 Tbsp Lemon Zest, divided
2 Tbsp Oregano, divided
2 Tbsp Rosemary, divided
2 Tbsp Mint, divided
2 Tbsp Salt, divided
1 Tbsp Black Pepper, divided
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 Tbsp Cardamom
1 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 cup dry Red Wine
1 cup Lemon Juice
3 Tbsp Olive Oil

  • Combine the minced Garlic, half of the Lemon Zest, Rosemary, Oregano, Mint, Salt, and Black Pepper, the Crushed Red Pepper, Red Wine, and Lemon Juice in a large container for a marinade. The container should be able to hold the leg of lamb, and be sealed. I advocate using a seal-able bag.
  • Place the Lamb in the container with the marinade and refrigerate for 6-12 hours.
  • After marinating, remove the Lamb to a roasting pan, and pat dry.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F
  • Taking a large paring knife, cut slits in the meat about 1/2″ wide, and 1″ deep.
  • Insert the Garlic slivers into the slits.
  • Taking the remaining Herbs and Seasoning, rub the Lamb. If you need more, feel free to add more.
  • Take the Dijon Mustard and lightly spread along the Lamb over the rub. Try to avoid clumps.
  • Drizzle the Olive Oil over the top.
  • Place in the oven, and roast for 20 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to 325°F and roast for an additional 25-35 minutes, or until desired doneness.
  • Rare is about 25 minute with an internal temperature of 135°F
  • Medium-rare is about 30 minutes with an internal temperature of 140°F
  • Medium is about 35 minutes with an internal temperature of 160°F
  • Remember to put the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the leg, and not touching the bone.

Serve with Tzatziki or Mint Jelly

NOTES: This recipe pulls on Greek flavors from my neighborhood Astoria. For me, lamb says Spring, Easter, and Passover. Traditionally, Lamb (קרבן פסח)would have been sacrificed on the first night of Passover in remembrance of the lambs blood that was painted on the door posts of the Hebrew homes in Egypt, signifying to the Angel of the Lord to passover that house and spare the first born son. The use of a shank-bone on the Seder plate is reminiscent of this sacrifice, and in some places, Lamb is eaten as the primary meat in the Seder meal.

In the Christian tradition, which I am much more familiar with, the symbol of the lamb has been drawn from Passover and applied to Jesus as the sacrificial lamb which allows death to passover all those washed in the blood of his sacrifice. You will see a lot of symbolism around Easter time in both the Western and Eastern Churches of the Paschal Lamb, often carrying a banner and sitting on a broken sarcophagus.

Jan Van Eyck painting “Ghent Altarpiece”, finished 1432

Whether celebrating Passover or Easter or just a group of friends coming for a visit, lamb is a great festive choice of food, and probably my favorite meat.

Leg of lamb: Impressive &#8212 and impressively easy

Want to become a great cook almost instantly, with hardly any work? Buy a leg of lamb. There are few things that are as easy to prepare and as impressive. Season with salt and pepper, roast at 325 degrees to a rosy medium-rare and then watch your friends drool while you carve.

Even setting aside all the Easter metaphors, lamb is special. It’s got a rich, almost gamy quality that lends itself to all sorts of big flavors.

For example, for my go-to leg of lamb, I cut little slits all over the surface and insert slips of garlic, rosemary and salted anchovy to perfume the meat while it cooks. It’s a bit time-consuming, but after an hour or so in the oven, when the garlic, rosemary and umami-rich anchovy have melted into the meat …. Oh, my. And if you want to make this more easily, you can grind those ingredients with olive oil into a paste and simply rub it on the surface.

The biggest thing you have to worry about when roasting a leg of lamb is doneness. We’ve been conditioned to equate rare meat with culinary sophistication, but while this may arguably be true when you’re talking about a steak, it’s definitely not right for a leg of lamb.

Loin muscles, which run lengthwise along the spine, get very little work and so are naturally tender. Lamb’s legs are very active, and the meat is full of connective tissue. This needs to be cooked to a higher temperature to soften and become palatable. Cook a leg of lamb too little and you’ll wind up with stringy meat.

More is not better, of course. In fact, there are probably more sins committed against lamb at the opposite end of the doneness spectrum. Some cooks who are unfamiliar with lamb seem to be trying to punish it by incineration. Like any other meat, lamb will dry out and become tough if overcooked.

I find that pulling the leg from the oven at an internal temperature of about 130 to 135 degrees is just about perfect. After a 30-minute rest before carving, the meat will still be pink and juicy but firm, and the connective tissue will have softened.

This basic method can be tweaked in many directions. You can do the anchovies-garlic-rosemary thing, of course. You can serve your leg with a black olive tapenade or marinate it in an Indian-influenced paste of yogurt and ginger.

A leg of lamb even works well pot-roasted. In fact, one of my favorite lamb dishes is based on a Patricia Wells recipe that calls for baking it in a sealed Dutch oven at 425 degrees for up to six hours. (Sounds impossible? Try it and see.)

Grilling, of course, works great, particularly with “butterflied” legs of lamb, which have had the bones removed. In fact, most of the legs you’ll find in markets these days have been butterflied. This has its advantages, because with a little nipping and tucking these will lie flat on the grill.

A butterflied leg of lamb also offers the opportunity for a greater range of donenesses (the meat is not of an even thickness, so you’ll get thick parts that are medium-rare and thinner parts that are more medium). And buying a boned leg also allows you to remove some of the interior pockets of fat, which will tame the wild flavor a bit for eaters who are not naturally lamb lovers.

But I still think a bone-in leg is worth looking for. The meat seems to me to be a little juicier — and it certainly makes a more impressive appearance at the table.

No matter which leg you buy, don’t feel obliged to tell anyone how easy cooking it really is.


Seven favorite leg of lamb recipes

A basic roast leg of lamb is one of the best things you can cook. But with a little more effort, you can make something really special. Here are seven of my favorite lamb dishes, for both bone-in and butterflied legs, cooked in the oven or on the grill, and even a couple of pot roasts. For full recipes for any of these dishes, search our California Cookbook recipe collection online (recipes.latimes.com).

Roast leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic and anchovies: Cut thin slits all over the surface of a bone-in leg. Insert a thin slice of garlic, a tuft of rosemary and a smidge of salted anchovy into each slit. Rub with olive oil and roast.

Leg of lamb stuffed with greens, feta and pine nuts: Combine braised cooking greens, crumbled feta and toasted pine nuts, and use this to stuff a boneless leg. Roll and tie the leg, rub with olive oil and roast. Before serving, make a pan sauce with red wine, rosemary and chopped green olives.

Pot-roasted lamb with fennel and potatoes: Sear a tied boneless leg in a Dutch oven. Cook onion and garlic, then add quartered fennel bulbs and small potatoes. Pour over white wine, return the leg to the pot, cover and cook.

Lamb and lentils to eat with a spoon: Brown onions, carrots, garlic and a bone-in leg in a Dutch oven in a 425-degree oven. Add water, tomato paste and red wine, cover tightly and roast 5½ to 6 hours. Add cooked lentils and finish with minced herbs.

Lamb marinated in yogurt, garlic and rosemary: Slather a boneless leg with a paste made from garlic, rosemary, olive oil and salt. Put it in a plastic bag and add yogurt. Rub well and refrigerate overnight. Great on the grill really good in the oven.

Indian-spiced grilled lamb: Stir together yogurt, red wine vinegar, garlic, black pepper, grated ginger, sliced serrano chile, ground cumin and salt. Put a boneless leg in a plastic bag and pour the marinade over. Refrigerate overnight. Perfect for grill or oven.

Grilled butterflied leg of lamb with olive-fennel tapenade: Thinly slice garlic and insert in thin slits cut in the skin side of a boneless leg. Season with salt and pepper, put in a plastic bag and pour over red wine. Refrigerate two to three hours before grilling or roasting. Make a tapenade to serve alongside by grinding together pitted brined black olives, minced garlic, fennel seed, red wine vinegar, olive oil, Pernod and minced parsley.

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Roast Shoulder of Lamb

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Indian-Style Lamb Pot Roast

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Rack of Lamb with Rosemary and Thyme

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Prosciutto-Wrapped Roast Pork Loin

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Make a short crust with ¼ lb. dripping or lard rubbed into ¾ lb. of flour, a little salt, and enough water to form a pliable paste. Roll out on a floured board to about half an inch thick. Cut into rounds, two for each patty-tin. Grease the tins, line them with one round of pastry, and put into each about a dessertspoonful of cold cooked mutton, minced small, and… Continue reading

Select two pounds of the scrag end of young mutton. Cut the meat into small pieces, discarding all superfluous fat. Place in a casserole, after browning over in a little hot dripping, and add one cupful of dried flageolets (which are green-colored French beans), one pint of boiling water, two onions cut in slices, salt, celery salt and pepper to taste, and one small head of lettuce, torn… Continue reading

Astray Recipes: Stracotto doagnello with olives and orange

BASIC TOMATO SAUCE: Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent, but not brown (about 10 minutes). Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to just bubbling, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately, or set aside for further use. The sauce may be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to 6 months.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Trim most of the fat from the lamb and season with salt and pepper.

In a heavy bottomed casserole (at least 6 quarts), heat olive oil until smoking. Brown lamb on both sides until dark golden brown and remove. Add onions, garlic, anchovies and orange pieces and cook until softened, scraping the casserole bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen the brown bits. Add olives, orange juice, wine and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Add lamb, lower heat to a simmer and cook 70 minutes, or until fork tender.

Nutritional information per serving: xx calories, xx gm protein, xxx mg cholesterol, xx gm carbohydrate, xxx mg sodium, x gm fiber, xx gm fat (x gm sat, x gm mono, x gm poly), x mg iron, xx mg calcium, xx% of calories from fat.

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Italian Orange Salad for Christmas Eve

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The simplest salad marks Christmas Eve for Italian families.

Sliced oranges drizzled with olive oil and showered with a grinding of fresh black pepper is all that’s needed to usher in the meal.

I recall (with chagrin) that when my mother served this to our family decades ago when I was a teenager, I was disdainful, and I actually remember calling it “oily oranges.” How she put up with that, I’ll never know. Sorry Mom.

Now, of course, I am older and wiser, and I understand that it is not only a traditional dish, but it is utterly delicious!

Many decades ago, oranges were not easy to come by in the winter, so they were special. In fact, you might have gotten an orange in your stocking, because that represented a once-a-year, expensive treat. Now, of course, we take them for granted and expect them year-’round.

These days, I have been re-appreciating this salad, and making it with all the winter citrus that’s in season, along with some of my own additions – Kalamata olives and shaved red onion slices, which complement it nicely.