Orange and Fennel-Rubbed Lamb Leg

One of the best and least stressful ways to cook for a group is to roast a large-format piece of meat, like this lamb leg. You rub it with a mixture of orange zest, sumac, chili flakes and fennel seeds, then toss it in the oven. While it roasts, you’re freed up to make the accompaniments: Lemon-garlic yogurt, seasoned cucumbers and a simple herb salad. By the time your guests arrive, all you have to do is slice the lamb and serve. (Plus, your house will smell amazing.)

If you want one more element to go with the above, whip up some quick-pickled onions. Serve it all with a light-bodied, fruit-forward, juicy red wine.

Orange and Fennel-Rubbed Lamb Leg

5 from 1 vote
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Protein: Lamb
Cut: Boneless Leg of Lamb
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 6 strips orange peel finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
  • 3 tbsp fennel seeds coarsely chopped or ground
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes 
  • Diamond Crystal kosher salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ButcherBox Boneless Lamb Leg (about 6 pounds) defrosted, pat dry
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon zested, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill leaves
  • Flaky sea salt for serving
  • Warm lavash or pita for serving


  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325ºF. In a small bowl, combine the orange peel, fennel seeds, sumac, chili flakes, 4 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  • Place the lamb leg in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Take the leg out of its netting (reserve the netting), open the leg open and sprinkle the orange-spice mixture all over, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Use the saved netting to tightly wrap up the lamb leg. Position the lamb fat side up in the baking dish.
  • Pour the stock and wine into the baking dish. Roast the lamb until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 135ºF for medium rare, about 1 ½ hours. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • While the lamb is roasting, spoon the yogurt into a small bowl. With a fork, mix in the lemon zest and garlic. Taste and season with salt. Place the cucumbers in a separate bowl; add the juice of half of the lemon. Toss, then taste and season with salt. In a third bowl, toss the arugula, parsley and dill together.
  • When ready to serve, untie the lamb leg, slice thinly against the grain, and arrange on a platter. Drizzle any juices that have gathered on the board over the lamb. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Serve the lamb with the warm lavash, yogurt sauce, cucumbers and herb salad.
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