Buttermilk-marinated lamb

Buttermilk-marinated lamb

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  • Easy
  • Carb Conscious
  • 30 minutes, plus overnight marinating time
  • 2½ hours
  • Woolworths Neil Ellis Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

I’ve grown up with this recipe and every time I make it I still can’t believe how much flavour it has. The buttermilk really tenderises the lamb, so it’s worth the effort. This is the first time I've tried to slash or score the lamb, which helped render the fat and created more surface area to crisp up.


  • For the marinade:
  • 2 x 500 ml bottles buttermilk
  • 2 heads garlic, peeled and halved
  • 15 g oregano
  • 15 g dill
  • 30 g rosemary
  • 1 T coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 2 t cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 t fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 3 lemons, zested
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the lamb:
  • 3.5 kg Woolworths bone-in free range leg of lamb
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • ½ head garlic
  • 4 baby leeks, sliced
  • 100 g butter

Cooking Instructions

1. Place all the marinade ingredients into a large Ziploc freezer bag or into a deep baking tray. Stir to combine.

2. Using a sharp knife, make small, shallow slashes through the top of the lamb. You only want to score the fat, not too deeply into the meat.

3. Massage the marinade into the lamb and leave in the freezer bag or cover with foil or clingwrap and chill overnight.

4. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush off any excess marinade and place the lamb in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Cover with 2 layers of tin foil and roast for 1 hour 45 minutes, then remove the foil and roast for a further 20–30 minutes depending on how you like your lamb.

5. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. Pan-fry the leeks in the butter. Serve with the lamb.

Cook's note: To slow cook lamb on the braai, take the meat out of the fridge an hour ahead to ensure even cooking. Brush off excess marinade, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in 4–5 layers of tin foil. Place over the coals and cook for 2 hours, turning every 20 minutes. Keep adding coals to keep the heat constant. Remove the foil, and render the fat on the heat until golden, then rest before carving.

Find more roast lamb recipes here. 

Photographs: Jan Ras 

Hannah Lewry Recipe by: Hannah Lewry
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Woolworths TASTE’s Food Editor is passionate about conjuring up fresh ideas for fast and easy dishes that taste as great as they look. Turn to her expertise for everything from time-saving mid-week food to lazy weekend meals. You’ll have a lot of fun in the kitchen while you’re about it.

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