Castilian Roast Leg of Lamb - Pata de Cordero Asado

So special is the place of lamb in the Spanish diet that it is one of the most popular dishes served on Christmas Eve. Traditionally Spaniards roast their lamb in damp heat until it falls away from the bone. In Segovia, there are wonderful restaurants that specialize in lamb roasted in wood burning stoves. On Sundays, hungry Madrileno families drive to these restaurants to enjoy the country air and a great meal. This is a special occasion meal that makes a wonderful match with a Duero Reserva.

- 5 to 6 lb. leg of lamb
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic finely sliced
- 1 wineglass of dry white wine
- 300 ml (½ pint) of water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of wine vinegar
- 5 tbl. lemon juice

- 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)

YIELD: Serves 6-8 people

COURSE: Lamb and Mutton

CUISINE: Spanish


  1. Bring the lamb to room temperature before starting
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Put the white wine, water, vinegar and lemon juice into a pan and bring to the boil.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!