Barbecued Leg of Lamb with Almonds

I was looking for a leg of lamb recipe after I got a very nice piece of lamb from our local butcher in Melkbosstrand. Not wanting to go the traditional oven baked route, I decided to look for something more exciting and opted for this Ottolenghi’s Barbequed Leg of Lamb with Almonds recipe.

Yotam Ottolenghi has proven many times to me that he can be a magician with lamb. This recipe was no different. I adjusted it slightly for our taste.

Beautiful dish

The recipe consists of three components: The lamb and peppers, the marinade and the sauce.

Ingredients for the lamb and peppers

  • 1.5kg leg of lamb, deboned, trimmed and cut into 10-12 pieces (got this from our local butcher, The Patient Butcher)
  • 3 red bell peppers, cleaned, de-seeded and cut into quarters
  • Olive oil
The lamb cut into pieces and the peppers in olive oil


Brush the peppers with olive oil and set it aside.

Ingredients for the marinade

  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 10g thyme, roughly chopped
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns, freshly ground


Mix the seven ingredients above in a bowl.

Add the lamb and mix well. Put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. Turn it over halfway through.

The lamb in the marinade

Ingredients for the sauce

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 175g almonds
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp orange flavouring (this is optional and the original recipe uses orange blossom water)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 10g mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 15g fresh coriander, roughly chopped


Heat 3 Tbsp of the olive oil in a small pan and add the almonds. Cook until the nuts are golden brown, stirring often. Remove the pan from the heat and let the nuts cool down a bit.

Put the nuts in a food processor (or use a stick blender) and roughly blend the nuts – not too much as you still want some texture in the sauce.

In a small bowl, mix the nuts, zest, juice, honey, orange flavouring, salt, pepper and the remaining olive oil. Set it aside. The fresh herbs will be mixed with the sauce just before serving.

Bringing it together

Heat up a grill over an open fire. Char the peppers on both sides and let it cool down. Cut into 2cm strips.

Put the lamb pieces on the grill and cook for a couple of minutes until the lamb has a good char on all sides. I used skewers to handle the lamb better on the grill. Wrap the lamb in foil to rest for 10 minutes.

Remove the lamb from the foil and arrange it on a platter with the peppers. Add the fresh herbs to the sauce, mix and serve it over the top. We served this with baked potato and green beans with feta and dukkah.

The sauce used in this recipe is so good I’ll be putting it on my Back to Basics page. I believe it can be used on beef and venison as well. I think it will even be great with grilled pork.

We paired this magnificent dish with a magnificent wine, a 2016 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc from Badsberg.

A magnificent wine

Tasting notes for the 2020 vintage can be found here: