Rediscovering Palestinian Cuisine

Arabic Roast Lamb

Arabic Roast Lamb

The lamb’s unique succulence and rich flavor is the embodiment of Middle Eastern cuisine from ancient times. The Palestinians cook lamb in a variety of dishes–from the incredibly tasty stuffed whole lamb embellished with aromatic spices, to stews, stuffing for vegetables, and topping for breads. In this incarnation, we present a basic lamb roast that is simple to prepare.


5-6 lbs leg of lamb, or 2 lamb shoulders
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
1-2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
5-6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped finely


  1. Preheat the oven to 500F degrees. Wash and trim the lamb of any excess fat, and pat dry with a clean cloth.
  2. Crush the garlic in a mortar and pestal, and mix with salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, and cumin. Combine the garlic and spice mixture with 2 tablespoons melted butter and chopped parsley to make a baste. Place the lamb in a large roasting pan. Cut small slits in the all sides of the leg of lamb, and rub the baste all over the lamb, filling the pockets created by slits with the mixture. Place the lamb in the oven and roast it, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 325F degrees and roast in a covered pan (either with foil or with a lid) for 2 hours. Add water if needed.
  3. You may roast vegetables with the lamb, such as onions, potatoes, zucchini, or eggplant. Add them to the pan during the last 50 minutes of cooking.
  4. When the leg of lamb is ready, slice and place on a serving dish with the vegetables on  top of a bed of rice or bulgar wheat. Pour the meat broth produced at the bottom of the pan on top. You may garnish with parsley sprigs.


1 thought on “Arabic Roast Lamb”

  • OMG I made this dish following Rasha’instructions and the food was mindblowingly delicious. Thank you Rashas for the recipe.

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