My seven-hour honey and rosemary lamb

My seven-hour honey and rosemary lamb

Recipes From a Normal Mum
David Loftus

The common advice about having a crowd over for dinner is to never attempt a recipe you’re unfamiliar with. I disagree. When else do you have the opportunity to make something different? Family and friends are the perfect audience to try new ideas out on. Especially when you can put it in the oven hours before dinnertime. And this recipe is liked by all. You can use a larger leg of lamb if you need to feed more people – just make sure it will fit in your roasting tray!


Quantity Ingredient
3 carrots, peeled and sliced in half lengthways
5 onions, peeled and sliced in half
2 tablespoons vegetable or groundnut oil
1 leg lamb
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
or 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons thick honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
250ml white wine
300ml vegetable stock, warmed
or 300ml lamb stock, warmed


  1. Preheat the oven to 120°C. Find a large roasting tin that will fit your lamb and line with a very long length of foil (I keep a roll of mammoth extra strong foil just for this dish – it needs to be big enough to wrap around the tin a couple of times). Place the carrots and onions in the bottom of the tin to form a trivet (a vegetable resting place if you will).
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the lamb on as many sides as you can get into contact with the heat. I wrap my hands in a clean tea towel and manoeuvre the lamb, rather than using any tongues. You can skip this but the lamb will not brown in the oven and will emerge an unappetising shade of beige.
  3. Place the lamb on top of the trivet. Mix the rosemary leaves with the honey, salt and pepper and rub all over the top side of the lamb. Pour the wine and stock into the bottom of the tin. Wrap the whole tin in foil, until it’s completely sealed – this bit is very important as if there’s any way for the heat to escape your lamb won’t be cooked when you come to unwrap it. I roll the foil over many times at each join. Or use a casserole dish with a lid.
  4. Forget about it in the oven for 7 hours, then break the foil open at the table and carve with spoons for maximum excitement. Serve with crunchy slaw and clean tasting steamed rice in the summer or nutmeg braised leeks and dauphinoise potatoes in the winter: place 1 kg of waxy potatoes like Desiree, peeled, very thinly sliced and well seasoned in a ceramic dish and cover with double cream. Add a crushed garlic clove and bake at 190°C for about 40 minutes or until tender.
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