Slow Roasted Lamb

March 19, 2017 10:17 AM

Maria Papa prepares a ravishing Fennel & Garlic Crusted Slow Roasted Lamb with Dan in the Let's Eat Kitchen.

Fennel and Garlic Crusted Slow Roasted Lamb

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Every region of Italy possesses it’s own language dialect and individual food customs and specialties.  The recipes for such, institute heavily guarded state secrets, and for outsiders, it is next to impossible to learn these authentic methods insider information from a native.

At Perreca’s, our founders, Grandma Carmella and Grandpa Salvatore Perreca emigrated from Naples, and thus, much of our food style is dictated by Napolitan influence.  But grandma Perreca had one, adventurous sister that globe-trotted all the way to the Abruzzo region, east of Rome on the Adriatic Coast to marry, giving her, and generations to follow, an authentic taste of that region’s delicious cuisine.

One such specialty of the Abruzzo region of Italy is a lamb dish encrusted with a flavorful paste of seasoning and then slowly roasted. This is an ideal main dish for Easter and Passover.


Leg of Lamb 5-7 lbs feeds 10 people (2/3 lb. per person bone-in; 1/2 lb. per person boneless)

12 cloves garlic — chopped with knife or quickly rough chop in food processor

2 tsp black pepper corns

3 Tbs fennel seeds  

1 Tbs cumin seeds

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 

2 Tbs Kosher salt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

The day before roasting

Chop garlic and set aside in bowl. 

In spice grinder, rough grind black pepper corns, fennel seeds, and cumin seeds (note: a mortar and pestle can also be used).  Pre-ground black pepper and cumin can also be used, but the flavors will not be as robust in your finished lamb.  Mix together garlic, ground spices, cinnamon, Kosher salt and extra virgin olive oil and work into leg of lamb making certain to cover all areas of the meat.

Place coated leg of lamb in a dutch oven and place in refrigerator overnight (uncovered).

Roasting Day

Remove leg of lamb from refrigerator one hour before roasting.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Place lamb, uncovered, in Dutch oven or roasting pan in 450 degree oven for 15 minutes minutes to crisp over and brown. This produces a layer of crust to keep the roast moist and tender during the rest of the slow-roasting process.  Remove lamb from oven and cover with tin foil. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees and replace covered lamb to the oven for 3 hours or to the desired wellness. Using a meat thermometer, remove meat at the following temperatures for the desired wellness:  135 degrees (medium rare / medium); 145 degrees (medium / medium well).

Remove lamb from oven and let rest 10 minutes before carving.


Joel Landas

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