| lemony lamb

July 4, 2010

Sarah and I both lived in Brisbane when we were undergraduates, but despite having friends in common we never met. But we must have passed one another on the street during all those years because when we talk about Brisbane we tell the same stories: of living in old Queenslanders that creaked in the heat, bats dropping mangos from the sky, and the lemon potatoes from Lefkas Greek Tavern at the top of Hardgrave Road in West End. Separately – we both always went there to order take away lemon potatoes which we would eat straight from the box out the front of the restaurant, not even waiting to get them home. I’ve been dreaming of recreating those potatoes since leaving Brisbane and this comes very close.

This recipe for lemony lamb (Arni Lemonato) has been passed from friend to friend – Michelle made it for a winter wedding feast this time last year, but it’s only this month that Sarah and I have been making it for ourselves. The lamb cooks for two and a half hours on the stove top in lemon juice and fresh oregano until succulent and you can pull it apart with your fingers. The potatoes added in the last hour are infused with the lemon flavour. We served the lamb with sautéed rainbow chard for opposing freshness and colour and ate hot lemon potatoes to remind us of Brisbane on a grey Melbourne afternoon.

Lemony Lamb
Adapted from Raw Materials, by Meryl Constance

1kg boned leg of lamb, (ask the butcher to bone it for you)
2/3 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh oregano
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1kg small new potatoes
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

This recipe also works well with lamb shanks, breast or best end of neck. If you do use these fattier meats make the dish a day ahead, refrigerate it and remove the fat that coagulates on top. If anything the dish gains added depth of flavour when made ahead and reheated.

Trim skin and all excess fat from a boned shoulder or leg of lamb. Open out the meat and rub both inside and outside surfaces with some of the lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. On the inside surface of the meat, sprinkle a tablespoon of fresh oregano. Roll the meat up and tie securely with twine. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot large enough to take the roll comfortably and brown the meat on all sides. Turn the heat down to low and add the rest of the lemon juice, the garlic, and the remaining oregano. Cover the pot and simmer very gently, turning occasionally, for about 2 and a half hours till very tender. Add small new potatoes to the pot about an hour before serving. To serve, remove the string and slice the meat into the centre of a heated serving platter. Surround with potatoes and pour lemony juices over the meat.

(Serves 4)

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lemony lamb: 7 comments

  1. pen Says:


  2. bianca Says:

    Oh this looks absolutely divine! You had me at hello with Lamb!

  3. Ella Says:

    My lemon juice reduced so much that it burnt to the bottom of the pan after about an hour – and that was after I had added a touch of extra water already. I’m just wondering whether there is more liquid that is supposed to go in? or was my pan simply too hot? Luckily I was able to save the shanks and re-braised them in stock with garlic, onion and lemon juice. Still delicious, but not quite as true to your recipe as I was hoping for.

  4. sarah Says:

    Hi Ella! So sorry to hear about your lamb. Was your lid tight fitting? I think perhaps a boned leg of lamb would have more juices that amalgamate in the pan as well, the shanks aren’t as fatty and juicy? I cooked this on the weekend with a big hunk of boned leg and it was excellent. I’m glad you could save the shanks!

  5. Ella Says:

    Hi Sarah. Now that I think of it I DID hear some ‘shhhhh’ type sounds which was probably moisture escaping from the lid. Your lamb looks so yummy in the picture I think I will try again next weekend (maybe with a leg and a different pan). No ill fitting lid is going to stand between me and delicious lemony lamb!

  6. Kath Says:

    I have just moved to West End, just around the corner from that Greek Taverna! It makes me so happy to be back in Brisbane after 18 months in Dublin, Ireland. If you miss the sunshine while you’re in Melbourne, I don’t suggest Eire! I will be going up to Lefkas very soon to try their lemon potatoes at your recommendation… but also will be making this recipe soon as it’s making my mouth water as I sit here in my little office reception on a chilly (for Brisbane) winter day 🙂

  7. Wally Says:

    yum yum and yummy i will try it first with the shanks.

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