Pomegranate Roast Lamb Leg

October 12, 2011
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This recipe, handed down from my mother, is a fall tradition in my family. We ate a lot of lamb when I was growing up, and I was shocked as an adult to find out that many people view it as an exotic food. In California in the fall, pomegranates are plentiful (they grow in our garden) but if you're not so lucky (or want to make this another time of year), you can replace the fresh pomegranate with 1 cup pomegranate juice. —Savour

Test Kitchen Notes

After making this succulent lamb roast, I find myself wanting to shake my fist and cry, "why didn't anybody tell me that I should be making roasted leg of lamb more often?! Like, every weekend?!" I suppose the price tag will keep me from making this show-stopper as often as I would like, but even so it was worth every penny. Savour's savory purple marinade lightly scents the exterior of the lamb with sweet-salty, wine-soaked flavor that goes beautifully with the unique flavor of the meat. Do make sure to scrape the marinade off before rolling and roasting the lamb, so you don't accidentally break your tooth on a tiny pomegranate pit. And, be very careful not to overcook the lamb (as Savour says herself, that defeats the entire point). Other than those two cautions, we loved everything about this roast! - fiveandspice —fiveandspice

What You'll Need
  • 1 whole pomegranate, skin and pith removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 large red onions, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced or roughly chopped, with the skin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Boneless Leg of Lamb, 4-5 lbs before boning
  1. Place the pomegranate seeds, oil wine, onions, garlic, pepper, lemon and salt in a food processor, and process until the onion is finely chopped.
  2. Rub the pomegranate marinade into the lamb, and put the lamb and the rest of the marinade in a sealed ziploc bag or a covered dish. Let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Using 4-5 pieces of kitchen twine, roll and tie the lamb into a roughly cylindrical shape, which will allow it to cook more evenly and carve more nicely.
  4. Place the tied lamb on a rack over a roasting pan. Roast about 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 325 degrees, and roast an additional 12-15 minutes per pound, or until an internal thermometer reads 130 degrees. (Ovens vary, but lamb should never be overcooked or cooked until medium. That defeats the entire point. The end pieces will be more well done if you have one fussy guest for the holidays)Let
  5. Let the lamb rest before carving, then remove the twine and slice into thick tranches. (You can also skip the rolling and tying, and grill the lamb on a grill for about 12 minutes a side instead of roasting)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Anna
  • wills
  • luvcookbooks
  • Anne Kavanagh
    Anne Kavanagh
  • Bevi
I'm a Los Angeles based home cook with a full time job and 2 young kids, so my recipes tend to be accessible to busy people. I firmly believe that anyone can cook good, everyday meals from scratch with sufficient tools and encouragement, and I try to create meals that are delicious, wholesome and not too intimidating. Most of my favorite recipes tend to be twists on a classic dish that makes it new and exciting.

8 Reviews

Anna December 25, 2016
Didn't have the chance to marinade, and used a lamb shoulder instead. Absolutely delicious and so festive!
wills December 6, 2014
This is a great recipe. It's true the marinade looks weird, and both my kids were scared of it at first, but it is delicious. I made a 10lb leg, and there was plenty of marinade. I'm not sure I had to pick out the pomegranate seeds ("break teeth"?) but I did. Oh, and definitely stick to the 130 degree internal temp direction. I let it sit about 30 minutes before carving. It was fabulous.
Atlanticgull November 14, 2014
Loved this. When I poured the marinade over the lamb and was putting it in the fridge my 12 year old said, "What are you marinating that in, Pepto
Bismol?" It does have a rather unique color.
luvcookbooks December 29, 2013
Hi, I made this for Christmas. The marinade was delicious (I ate some directly from the blender with a spoon). Unfortunately, the roast was already tied and I was pressed for time, also only marinated at room temp for a few hours. Left the marinade on in the oven, thinking it would impart some taste, but didn't work out that way. The 5.5 lb roast I had also took a tremendously longer time to cook, by about an hour, than calculated in the recipe. Do you know what happened? Did I get a bonus pound from the butcher? Did all that marinade insulate the lamb? Did I reach some crucial lamb roasting weight threshold? Will make it again, but properly...
TrevorC December 29, 2013
Anne, as it says "roughly chopped, with the skin," I think you're meant to put it all in there. That's what I did.
Anne K. December 29, 2013
Does anyone know if I include the whole lemon or peel it, add the flesh and then cut up the peel - ie not use the pith?
TrevorC December 25, 2013
Made this tonight, for Christmas Eve dinner, and it was wonderful. I strained and made a reduction of the marinade — which should be part of the recipe! It's a perfect finisher for the dish.
Bevi October 13, 2011
This sounds delicious. Pomegranate arils packaged in plastic square tubs are seasonally available at Trader Joes.