Roasted Leg of Lamb with Spices, Roasted Fennel, and Sweet Red Pepper Mayonnaise

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 10 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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5 garlic cloves

1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 leg of lamb (about 7 pounds), thighbone removed (see note)

Turkish Spice Mix, recipe follows

Roasted Fennel:

3 fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, juiced

Extra-virgin olive oil

Sweet Red Pepper Mayonnaise:

1/2 cup walnut pieces

2 cups mayonnaise

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 roasted red pepper, torn into narrow strips by hand

1 fresh hot red chile, stemmed

Pinch sugar

1/2 lemon, juiced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Turkish Spice Mix:

3 tablespoons allspice berries

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1-inch piece cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon cloves


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Stir together the garlic, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper to make a paste. Spread that over the inside of the leg of lamb. Tie the leg crosswise with several lengths of butchers twine. Coat the outside of the leg of lamb with the Turkish Spice Mix and set it on a rack in a roasting pan.
  3. Put the fennel in a small, deep baking dish (or souffle dish) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and enough oil to entirely cover the fennel (2 1/2 to 3 cups, maybe more depending on the size of the dish). Cover with aluminum foil. Put the lamb and the fennel in the oven and cook until the fennel is very soft and the lamb is medium (140 degrees F), about 1 hour for the fennel, and about 1 1/2 hours for the lamb. Let the lamb rest 10 minutes before slicing.
  4. While the lamb is roasting, make the mayonnaise: Grind the walnuts to a coarse powder in a food processor. Add all of the remaining ingredients and puree; set aside.
  5. Slice the lamb against the grain and serve it with the roasted fennel and sweet red pepper mayonnaise.

Turkish Spice Mix:

Yield: Ease of preparation: easy
  1. Combine the spices in a spice mill or clean coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Store in an air-tight container.

Cook’s Note

Ask your butcher to remove the longer thighbone (from the fatter part of the leg) but leave the shorter shank bone (from the narrow end of the leg), so that the leg will hold its shape. With the thigh bone removed, you'll be able to open out that part of the leg, like a book, and coat it with the herb mixture to flavor the inside of the meat as it cooks.

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