Roast Castilian Lamb Recipe

Cordero Asado a la Castellana

In general in Spain when you have roast lamb you would have a whole shoulder or leg from a young lamb per person. Since this is not readily available elsewhere this recipe is for one whole leg of lamb. Obviously it works equally as well with individual legs or shoulders.

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Usually this recipe involves cooking the lamb on a a bed of sliced potatoes, onions and garlic but if you do not wish to do so it will not be a problem. This is a typical dish around the north of Madrid especially going out for Sunday lunch and during the Christmas period.


Serves 4 – 6

  • 1.5 kg leg of lamb
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely sliced
  • 150ml of dry white wine
  • 300 ml of water
  • 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • potatoes (the quantity just depends on how much you want to cook with the lamb)
  • 1 or 2 large onions
  • 4 or 5 whole garlic cloves (or add less if you don’t want such a strong garlic flavour in the onions and potatoes)
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Method

Rub the lamb with half of the olive oil, season it with salt and pepper and rub the thyme over the surface of the lamb. Let the lamb sit for an hour to absorb the flavours.

Peel and cut the potatoes into slices about 1cm thick and place on the bottom of a roasting tin. Slice the onions and mix them with the potatoes and peel the garlic but leave the cloves whole and add to the potatoes and onions.

Put the white wine, water, vinegar and lemon juice into a pan and bring to the boil.

Next make some slits in the leg of lamb and put some slices of garlic into them and then rub the lamb with the rest of the olive oil. Place the lamb on top of the potatoes, onions and garlic and pour about half of the liquid over the meat.

Place in a preheated oven at 230ºC/450ºF/gas mark 8 for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 190ºC/375ºF/gas mark 5 and continue to roast it. Baste with the remaining liquid from time to time. If the potatoes soak up too much of the liquid you can make more.

For cooking time allow 15 minutes per 450g (1lb) if you like your lamb pink and 25 minutes per 450g if you like it well done in the manner that the Spanish like it!

Traditionally in Spain this would be served along with the potato that is cooked with it but you might choose to serve it with some roast potatoes and vegetables of your choice.

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