Olive Magazine
Slow-roast mechoui lamb leg with mint labneh

Slow-roast mechoui lamb leg with mint labneh

Published: March 21, 2016 at 9:38 am
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • Easy
  • Serves 6

Mechoui lamb is traditionally roasted in a pit for hours to give meltingly tender meat. Long, slow cooking in a low oven replicates this.



  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • a large walnut-sized piece ginger, finely grated
  • 1 (about 2kg) leg of lamb
  • 3 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
  • 2 large onions, cut into thick, 3cm round slices
  • heated to serve middle-eastern flatbreads


  • 500ml greek yogurt
  • a small bunch mint, chopped
  • olive oil


  • 1 bunch chopped spring onions, including green bits
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • a bunch coriander, chopped
  • 300g giant couscous


  • STEP 1

    To make the labneh, mix the yogurt, mint and ½ tsp salt. Put in a sieve lined with muslin or a clean j-cloth over a bowl and leave to drain overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, tip out into a dish and drizzle with a little olive oil.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140/gas 3. Mix the butter with the spices and ginger and season with ½ tsp salt. Make incisions all over the lamb, deep enough to hold the garlic slivers and poke them in. Pat the lamb dry with kitchen paper then rub the spiced butter all over it, and season with salt.

  • STEP 3

    Put the slices of onion in the bottom of a roasting tin and sit the lamb on top. Pour around a small teacup of water. Cover tightly with a double-layer tent of foil, then put in the oven. Cook for 5 hours, then take the foil off, turn the oven up to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5, and cook for another ½ hour. Rest it while you make the couscous.

  • STEP 4

    Put the spring onions, lemon juice and zest and coriander into a large bowl and season well. Cook the couscous in boiling salted water until just tender, about 6-8 minutes (don’t let it get too mushy). Drain really well then tip into the spring onion bowl and toss.

  • STEP 5

    Serve the lamb carved into chunks with the couscous, mint labneh, flatbreads and the cooking juices from the tin.


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