Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours


  • Sprig of fresh rosemary or dried
  • A handful of fennel seeds
  • Couple of bay leaves again, dried if you can't get any fresh
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Thyme fresh or dried
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 red onion quartered
  • Breast of lamb de-boned


  1. You'll need to crush the fennel seeds first, either in a pestle and mortar, or in a spice blender (I've used a bag and a rolling pin before which worked fine). Scrunch the bay leaves and add the rest of the herbs with a few glugs of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and add 2 roughly crushed garlic cloves.
  2. Bung your breast of lamb into a bowl, tin or freezer bag and add your marinade to it, working it in with your hands (I prefer to use a freezer bag for this - much cleaner). Leave the lamb to marinade in the fridge for at least an hour, but overnight/all day is perfect.
  3. Once marinaded, pre-heat your oven on high (220 degrees C, 200 for fan). Add in a quartered red onion to the bottom of the tin and place your lamb and all that lovely marinade on top. Put in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes to brown, then take it out, turn the oven down to 150, and cover the lamb with 2 layers of tin foil tightly and put back in the oven. Continue to cook low and slow for 2 hours, taking it out and basting it every now and again.
  4. When the 2 hours are up and you can plunge a knife into the lamb satisfyingly with very little effort, leave to rest for half an hour, covering it with the tin foil and a tea towel on top to stop it going cold.
  5. Carve into slices, and serve with minted new potatoes, garden veg and mint sauce. Add roast potatoes for a perfect and economical Sunday roast for 4 people.

Recipe Notes

On my travels to Crete last year, I had the most amazing Cretan lamb - and the core ingredient for the marinade was always fennel seeds. Do make sure you have fennel seeds for the dish if nothing else, it really makes it! Fennel seeds are also wonderful with pork, roast vegetables, chicken - it's a great store cupboard investment.