Balsamic roast lamb with garlic and figs

Lamb and Mutton SA
6 servings Prep: 15 mins, Cooking: 5 hrs 30 mins
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Sweet and savoury leg of lamb roasted with balsamic vinegar, garlic and seasonally fresh figs - Sunday roast ready! Brought to you by Lamb and Mutton SA.

By Independent Contributor April 01 2022
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Ingredients (9)

3 kg leg of lamb
45 ml olive oil
salt and black pepper
3 sprigs fresh rosemary — woody stems removed, chopped
2 garlic heads — horizontally sliced in half
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup port wine
1 cup dry white wine
8 large black figs — some halved, some whole
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Preheat the oven to 160 C.

Place the leg of lamb inside a large deep roasting tray, fatty side down. Drizzle it all over with oil and season it generously with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary on both sides. 

Arrange the garlic head halves around it, then pour the vinegar, port and white wine into the bottom. Cover with a lid or foil, then roast for 3 hours. Remove from the oven, then use tongs to turn the leg over with the fatty side to the top. Cover and roast for another 2 hours.

Remove the tray from the oven and turn the heat up to 200 C. Return the leg to the oven for 20 minutes, then add the figs around the meat and roast for another 10 minutes – the figs should be just warm and soft, not falling apart.

Serve warm in the tray as a festive centrepiece, with a side of rice or potatoes or roast vegetables and salad.


Ask your butcher to bend the long end of the leg bone by cutting almost through it but not all the way. This way it will fit snugly into a large roasting tray without hanging over the side.

This roast makes a hearty yet thin sauce – remove some of the fat from the top by skimming it off with a spoon at the end of the cooking process. If you prefer a thicker gravy, pour the skimmed sauce into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and thicken slightly by reducing it by 1/4 or by adding 2-3 teaspoons of corn flour (mix it to a slurry consistency with a few teaspoons of water before adding it). Stir well until thickened.

Supported by the Red Meat Industry of SA – Recipes and styling Ilse van der Merwe – The Food Fox and photos by Tash Seccombe.

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