Red Wine Braised Leg of Lamb

4 hours



Ever since leg of lamb was first served at our big family Easter dinner, it has steadily remained one of my all-time favorite meals. Paired with roasted potatoes and sautéed asparagus, this dish makes a glorious meal for any get together. Braising the leg in a full-bodied red wine creates an amazing depth of flavor and complexity. You can even make this roast a day ahead and heat right before serving!

If you’ve never braised meat before, let’s go over the basics! Braising is essentially using both dry and wet heat to cook meat. First, sear the meat on all sides using really high heat to create the brown crusty exterior, sealing in all the juices and creating more flavor. Then, the meat is slowly cooked in broth, wine, or a combination of both, adding more flavor to the meat as it cooks.

Depending on the leg of lam you’ve purchased, there may be some preparation needed before you begin adding heat. A bone-in leg doesn’t need to be trussed, but a boneless or partial bone-in leg will be butterflied and will need to be tied up before cooking. I prefer the partial bone because the bone adds additional flavor and it also allows me to add flavor to the inside of the roast before it’s rolled and tied. It takes a little practice to make it neat, but it’s definitely worth it! If you need directions or even just a refresher, here is a really good tutorial that demonstrates how to truss a leg of lamb.

Let’s get cooking!

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Adjust Servings
1 large onion, quartered
1 garlic head
4 large carrots, quartered
6 thyme sprigs
6 rosemary sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 8-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb
kosher salt
750milliliters full bodied red wine (chianti, Bordeaux, etc)
2 tablespoons olive oil



Step 1

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Mince the herbs. Peel and mince all of the garlic. Mix together with one tablespoon of kosher salt and set aside. If your leg of lamb is butterflied, lay open on a cutting board interior side up. Spread half of the garlic mixture over the surface of the meat. Roll the meat together, and truss (tie) tightly using twine.
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Step 2

Peel and quarter the onion and carrots and place in the bottom of a deep roasting pan large enough to fit the entire leg of lamb. Coat the leg in the rest of the garlic mixture and place on top of the veggies. Roast for 25 minutes or until the lamb is lightly browned.
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Step 3

Add the full bottle of wine to the pan and carefully cover the pan with foil (or lid if you have one). Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and braise the lamb for two hours. The foil will hold in the steam. Then uncover the lamb and cook for one more hour until the meat is deep brown on top and the meat is tender.
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Step 4

Allow meat to rest for 15 minutes in the juices and then transfer to a carving board. Reserve the juices but strain out the onion and carrots. Skim the fat. Cut the meat thinly and serve with the juices.
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Toss the washed baby potatoes in a drizzle of olive oil, and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast at 450 for 20 minutes or until fork tender.
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Clean the asparagus shoots by breaking off the woody part of each stem. Rinse, and then toss with a drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Sauté in a large pan over medium high heat just until the asparagus is very bright green. Remove from heat and serve.
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