Butterflied leg of lamb with preserved lemons

This dish is a great for feeding a crowd. It is super simple to make and full of flavour.

You can buy a butterflied joint from your butcher. A ‘butterflied’ joint is where the bone has been removed and the meat opened out into roughly the shape of a butterfly. This means it is quicker to cook and easier to carve.

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Mary Berry recipes
From Mary Berry's Foolproof Cooking


  • 2.5kg/5lb 8oz leg of lamb, butterflied and the skin scored

For the marinade

  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 preserved lemons, chopped, pips discarded
  • 1 tbsp drained capers, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp runny honey

For the lemon dressing

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 preserved lemons, finely chopped, pips discarded
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 heaped tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. lay the lamb, skin side up, in a shallow dish. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and pour over the lamb, massaging it in with your fingers. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 2–3 hours, or for up to 12 hours if time allows.

  2. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.

  3. Put the lamb, skin side up, in a roasting tin and pour over any marinade left in the dish. Roast in the oven for 30–35 minutes, or until dark golden and crisp on top and medium-rare in the middle. Rest, covered in foil, for 10 minutes while you make the dressing.

  4. Measure all the dressing ingredients into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Carve the lamb into slices and serve hot with the lemon dressing and juices from the roasting tin.

Recipe Tips

Preserved lemons are whole lemons that have been preserved by being packed into tall jars with salt, herbs and spices, then covered with lemon juice or brine and left to cure for a few weeks. They are used a lot in North African cooking, including tagines. It’s best not to use too many, however, or they can overpower a dish.

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