Provencal Roast Lamb

11:30 am on 17 September 2012

Provencal roast lamb

Traditionally in France roast lamb is served at Easter to celebrate new life. In Provence, where lamb is one of the most widely eaten meats, garlic, anchovies and rosemary are used with it in abundance. This is great at any time of the year, and can be cooked in the oven or on a barbecue with a lid. Serve with crisp roast potatoes and a green vegetable or salad.

(Serves 4-6)


  • 1 medium-sized leg of lamb
  • 6 cloves of peeled and sliced garlic
  • 3–4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • oil for cooking
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 80 g anchovy fillets in oil (drained)
  • 2–3 whole heads of garlic (this much makes the sauce very garlicky)
  • 250g pouch of lamb stock or 150 ml of water


Preheat the oven to 180°C (or the barbecue to medium hot). Make small incisions all over the meat and insert the slices of garlic and a few small pieces of rosemary (keep some aside). Place the lamb in a roasting pan into which you’ve drizzled a little oil.

Season the lamb with pepper and lay the anchovy fillets over and under it. They’ll melt over the meat as it’s cooking, impart a great flavour and provide the salt — they’re not at all fishy. Even if you don’t ordinarily like anchovies, give this a try.

Place the whole garlic heads and the remaining rosemary in the pan.

Cook in the oven or on the barbecue. A medium-sized leg should take about 1 hour (for pink).

When the meat is done, remove from the pan and let it rest, covered, for about 15 minutes.

While it’s resting, make the sauce. Pour off excess oil or fat from the pan. Squeeze all the soft, fragrant garlic pulp into it from the whole heads. Add the stock or water. Stir and scrape up any bits stuck in the pan and let it simmer for 5 minutes.


Before serving, remove the rosemary sprigs and adjust the seasoning. Usually nothing extra is needed. Serve the sauce separately.

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