Roast leg of lamb with sweet onion marmalade – Dianne Bibby

lamb-4Roast leg of lamb with sweet onion marmalade – Dianne Bibby

Dianne says: “The combination of savoury and sweet is a familiar concept to most South Africans. Fresh and dried fruits have been mainstays to many local favourites for centuries, often appearing in lamb, chicken and beef recipes. Rather than the traditional use of fruit, I’ve chosen to caramelize onions with garlic, thyme and a touch of balsamic vinegar for acidic balance. While the lamb and onions contain natural sugars, the addition of molasses-rich demerara sugar amps up the caramelisation. To counter the sweetness, I’m pairing it chilli, rosemary and earthy coriander.

There are essentially two steps to this meltingly tender lamb roast. Marinating and slow roasting. It’s as simple as that. I’m a firm believer in marinating, whether in the form of a dry spice rub or an oil-based marinade. The meat benefits from an overnight chilling session as this allows the flavours to penetrate deep within the meat. Let’s talk about cooking methods. Slow roasting does an incredible job of gently cooking the meat, rendering utterly delicious pan juices with a marmite-like tang. Allowing the oven to do all the work is just plain clever cooking. Once the prep work is done, it requires very little involvement other than a watchful eye. The clinking of cutlery on empty plates will tell of huge appreciation from all who’ve shared in the feast.”

lamb-5Roast leg of lamb with sweet onion marmalade

Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time – 4 hours
Total time 4 hours 20 minutes

Serves: 8


2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 stems rosemary, de-stalked
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 red chilies, with or without seeds, depending on taste
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Natura Sugars Dark Demerara
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

For the roast
extra virgin olive oil
2.5kg free-range leg of lamb
4 onions, peeled and cut into wedges
1 whole garlic bulb, halved
3 stems thyme
¼ cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons Natura Sugars Dark Demerara
2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
salt and cracked black pepper

Starting with the marinade, toast the coriander seeds in a dry pan for several minutes until fragrant.
Place all the marinade ingredients, except the olive oil in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Pulse or grind until fine. Combine the spices with the olive oil.
Massage the spice marinade into the lamb, place in a non-metallic dish and cover with cling film. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove the lamb from the fridge and bring up to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180º C.
Place the onions, garlic and thyme in a large roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the leg of lamb with the fatty side facing down on top of the onions. Cover loosely with foil and roast for 2 ½ hours.
Remove the foil and turn the lamb over. Add the Natura Sugars Dark Demerara and balsamic vinegar to onions and stir through to combine. Roast for a further 1 hour, uncovered. Turn the heat up to 220º C and cook for about 20 minutes.
Remove the leg of lamb and garlic bulb halves from the roasting tin and cover with foil. Set aside to rest.
Place the roasting tin with the onions on the hob. With the heat on high, reduce the pan juices until sticky. Add plenty of black pepper and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Return the leg of lamb to the pan and heat through. Serve with root vegetable sides and rosemary roast potatoes.

Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE

Asara The Vineyard Collection Merlot 2012

Dianne BibbyDianne Bibby

Dianne Bibby is a former fashion designer, turned food enthusiast and avid cook.  At 36 she hung up her fashionable hat, tied on her kitchen apron and started on a new culinary journey.

Her kitchen is a creative gathering place where meals are shared with family and friends, celebrating life and nurturing our connectivity.  For Dianne food is relational and pivotal to the way in which she expresses love, care and hospitality.  Currently she spends most of her time developing recipes and teaching group cooking classes.

Says Dianne, “My food philosophy is relatively uncomplicated with inspiration being drawn from diverse global food trends and seasonal produce.  My recipes are not exclusively tied to any particular food preference but rather an exploration of all foods that are vibrant and fresh.”

Dianne hopes that you will be motivated and inspired to try something new, making the time you spend in the kitchen deeply satisfying and rewarding.

She’d love to hear from you – CLICK HERE

Spoon logo