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Roasted leg of lamb or goat with xinomavro wine and herbs recipe

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Adjust Servings:
For the Lamb
15 Garlic cloves
¼ cup (70 g) Allspice Berries
3 tablespoons whole Black Peppercorns , crushed
3 to 4 tablespoons coarse Greek Sea Salt , as needed
1½ cups (150 g) grated Kefalotyri Cheese or other sharp, hard, preferably Greek, sheep’s-milk cheese, such as Kefalograviera, ladotyri, or hard myzithra (pecorino and Parmesan also work well)
1 (6½- to 7-pound / 3 kg) bone-in Lamb or goat leg
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin Greek Olive Oil
For the Roasting Pan
6 fresh Rosemary sprigs
10 fresh Thyme sprigs
10 fresh Oregano sprigs
6 dried Greek Sage leaves
3 Onion , sliced
3 Celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 large Fennel Bulb , coarsely chopped
6 Bay leaves
1 tablespoon whole Black Peppercorns
5 to 6 tablespoons (75 to 90 ml) extra-virgin Greek Olive Oil
2 cups (480 ml) Xinomavro or other tannic red wine, plus more as needed

Roasted leg of lamb or goat with xinomavro wine and herbs recipe

  • Serves 6
  • Medium


  • For the Lamb

  • For the Roasting Pan



They all taste so different from the lambs (and goats) that graze on Greece’s sea-sprayed rich natural grasses and flora. Greek lamb tends to be smaller and milder. Look for young lamb for this recipe.



Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).


Prepare the Lamb

In a mortar, working in batches if your mortar isn’t large enough, combine the garlic, allspice, 1½ tablespoons of the peppercorns, and a little salt and pound with the pestle until the mixture is a damp, chunky paste. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the grated cheese. Set aside until ready to use.


Rinse the lamb or goat leg and pat dry. Using a sharp paring knife, make about 25 incisions on all sides of the leg. Stuff a large pinch of the spice-cheese mixture into each of the incisions, pushing it in as deep as possible. Continue until you’ve used all the the mixture, making additional incisions as necessary.


Rub the olive oil over the surface of the leg and season generously with salt and the remaining 1½ tablespoons crushed peppercorns.


For the roasting pan, combine the rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, onions, celery, fennel, bay leaves, peppercorns, and olive oil in a large bowl and season with salt. Spread the vegetable-herb mixture over the bottom of a large roasting pan. Place the meat over the vegetables. Pour ½ cup (120 ml) of the wine over the meat. Roast for 20 minutes, until the meat begins to brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF (160ºC).


Remove the pan from the oven and cover with parchment or waxed paper, then with aluminum foil. Return the pan to the oven and roast for 2 to 2½ hours more for medium-rare, uncovering the pan every 30 minutes and pouring the remaining wine over the leg in ½-cup (120 ml) increments, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg registers 145ºF (65ºC).


Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. If desired, strain the pan juices and drizzle over the slices of lamb as you serve.


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