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Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Mexican Marinade

Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Mexican Marinade
Recipe Date:
February 8, 2019
Serving Size:
Cook Time:
Imperial (US)
  • 4 lbs leg of lamb
  • 2 dried ancho chilies
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 pink peppercorns
  • 2 tsps fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 6 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch of fresh oregano
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 fresh red chilies
  • 2 chicory
  • 1 large handful of watercress
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 1/2 tsps harissa
  • 2 cups Greek yoghurt


Lamb and Pinot Noir are an ideal and classic Winter pairing. The vibrant 2016 McDougall Pinot Noir is a perfect match for the lamb because the acidity and bright fruit notes in the wine act as a nice foil for the earthy richness in lamb.

If you can, prepare your lamb the day before you want to cook it. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut down the lamb leg to expose the bone. Keeping your knife as close to the bone as possible, cut along one edge to completely reveal it. Cut right around the bone, then remove it. Lay the lamb flat on a chopping board, skin-side down. With your knife, make an incision halfway into the flesh on each side, where the meat is thicker, then open it out like a book. You should now have a flat piece of lamb of more or less even thickness.

Soak your dried chilies in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small frying pan over a medium heat, dry-toast the black and pink peppercorns, fennel and coriander seeds for 30 seconds, until they begin to pop and smell delicious.

Remove the softened chilies from the soaking water and transfer to a spice grinder or small food processor. Add the toasted spices and a splash of the soaking water, then blitz to a fine paste. In a large bowl, mix the spice paste with the lemon zest, paprika, oil, vinegar and a pinch of sea salt. Pick in the oregano leaves, peel and crush in the garlic, then finely slice and stir through the chili until combined. Add the butterflied lamb to the bowl and rub the marinade all over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours, but ideally overnight.

Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you're ready to cook, so the lamb comes up to room temperature. Fire up your barbecue, then once hot, cook the meat for 40 to 45 minutes, or until medium-rare, turning it every 10 minutes or so. Transfer the lamb to a board and allow to rest for 15 minutes while you make your salad.

Destem and combine the chicory leaves with the watercress and pomegranate seeds in a serving bowl. In a small bowl, stir the harissa through the yoghurt and season to taste.

Slice the lamb on the board and halve the zested lemon. Serve the lamb on the board with the salad, yoghurt dressing and lemon halves on the side. Pair with Dutton Goldfield McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir.