Karen Martini's Greek-style lamb roast

Serve this rustic lamb roast with feta, salad and bread.
Serve this rustic lamb roast with feta, salad and bread. Photo: William Meppem

I love slow-roasted lamb and I cook it in many subtly varied ways. This version is inspired by the rustic cooking of the mountain villages of Greece. This is a dryish braise, or a wettish roast … either way, the result is a richly sticky and intensely flavoured dish, scented with oregano and bay, with plenty of lemon brightening and slicing through the richness. Serve with a lightly dressed bitter leaf salad, large chunks of firm feta and bread to mop up all the juices.


1 tbsp black peppercorns

1 garlic bulb, skin on, cloves separated and bruised

3 tbsp salt flakes

zest and juice of 6 lemons (250ml juice)

200ml extra virgin olive oil

4 fresh bay leaves

4 tbsp dried Greek oregano

2.5kg lamb forequarter, cut into 10 pieces (ask your butcher)

6 large, waxy, yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and cut into 3–4cm wedges

1 large onion, skin on, cut into 8 wedges

200ml water or beer (use water for gluten-free)

To serve

bitter leaf salad

firm Greek feta



1. Preheat the oven to 165C fan-forced (185C conventional).

2. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the peppercorns, then add the garlic and bruise well, skin and all. Add the salt and lemon zest and combine well.

3. Add the garlic mix to a large bowl, then add the lemon juice, oil, bay leaves and oregano, and combine. Add the lamb, potato and onion and toss through the marinade.

4. Pick out the lamb and arrange on a large, heavy roasting tray, then follow with the potato and onion, distributing evenly. Add the water/beer to the marinade bowl, stir to combine, then pour over the tray. Seal with baking paper, then foil and roast for 1½ hours.

5. Remove the foil and paper and cook for another hour, then increase the heat to 230C fan-forced (250C conventional) and cook for 30 minutes until deeply coloured with rich, reduced juices.

6. Serve with a bitter leaf salad, firm Greek feta and ample bread.