Butterflied lamb leg with veg couscous recipe

(29 ratings)

butterflied lamb leg
(Image credit: Future PLC)
Preparation Time30 mins plus marinating overnight
Cooking Time1 hours 20 mins
Total Time1 hours 50 mins
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories541 Kcal27%
Fat28 g40%
Saturated Fat8 g40%
Carbohydrates27 g10%

This butterflied lamb leg recipe uses a marinade with just six ingredients and the whole recipe only has 10 ingredients.

Our butterflied lamb leg is served with a vegetable couscous but you could serve with roast potatoes and veg or a rice salad if you prefer. This is best prepared the day before for maximum flavour.


For the marinade

  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 20g chives
  • 15g mint leaves
  • 35g parsley
  • 7 anchovies
  • 6tbsp rapeseed oil

For the rest

  • 1.5kg leg of lamb joint, or 1.25kg butterflied leg of lamb
  • 250g wholewheat couscous
  • 1 red pepper, centre removed and cut into chunks
  • 2 courgette, roughly chopped




  1. Start by butterflying the lamb. Using a sharp knife cut close to the bone to remove it. Cut away any sinews. With the fat side on the chopping board, unravel the lamb by making incisions where the meat is thick to ease it out into a flat piece with an even thickness. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Juice the lemon, but keep the squeezed fruit. Put all the marinade ingredients and lemon juice into a food processor and blitz until you have a green sauce. Coat the lamb with the sauce and marinate in the fridge overnight.
  3. The next day, remove the meat from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Put the veg and couscous into the base of a roasting tray.
  4. Measure 500ml of cold water. Pour enough into the tray so that it starts to appear through the couscous. Reserve the rest to add later. In the centre, put the juiced lemons and sit the meat on top. Drizzle over any marinade and season the lamb with sea salt. Cover the roasting dish with foil. Bake in the oven for 50 mins.
  5. Remove the foil (but keep it) and add the remaining water. Cook for a further 25-30 mins for medium lamb (the cooking time will depend on the thickness).
  6. Once out of the oven, cover with the foil again and rest for 20 mins. Remove the lamb and carve it. Use a fork to fluff the couscous up and season to taste. If it’s looking dry, mix through a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Top tips for making butterflied lamb leg

You can freeze the lamb in the marinade. Make sure it's completely defrosted before cooking.

How to barbecue a butterflied lamb leg

Place the marinated lamb over medium heat on the barbecue and cook it for about 20-30 mins, turning it after 10 mins and brushing over any remaining marinade.

The lamb should still be slightly pink in the middle. Remove the meat from the barbecue and place on a board. Cover with foil to keep it warm and leave for about 10 mins before slicing, for the heat to transfer through to the centre of the meat.

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Rose Fooks
Deputy Food Editor

Rose Fooks is Deputy Food Editor at Future Publishing, creating recipes, reviewing products and writing food features for a range of lifestyle and home titles including GoodTo and Woman&Home. Before joining the team, Rose obtained a Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management at London’s Le Cordon Bleu. Going on to work in professional kitchens at The Delaunay and Zedel.