Butterflied leg of lamb with sekenjabin

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April 13, 2014 by dgarnett2013

Butterflied leg of lamb with sekenjabin: A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry


Serves 8


For the sekenjabin (Persian mint syrup): 

  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 150ml white wine vinegar
  • 15g mint leaves


For the lamb: 

  • 2.25kg leg of lamb, pre-boned weight, boned and butterflied
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 15g mint leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tabs olive oil, plus more to rub into the meat
  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce, leaves, separated, washed and patted dry


Great with flatbread or Spring couscous, and broad beans.


Make the sekanjabin the day before – to get it out of the way (or enough time for it to cool).

Put 300ml of water into a saucepan with the sugar and bring gently to the boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Add the vinegar, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. You should end up with a syrup (it will thicken as it cools, though even then it is not a thick syrup).

Take off the heat and add one-third of the mint leaves. Leave until cold, strain the mint out and refrigerate the syrup until you want to serve it.


Lamb: Preheat the oven to 220℃.

Pierce the lamb all over with a small sharp knife to make little slits. Put the garlic, mint, salt and pepper into a mortar and grind it, adding the oil. You should end up with a rough paste. (You can also do this in a mini food processor). Push this paste into all the slits in the lamb.

Now rub some oil over it and season well. Spread it out in a roasting tin, fatty side up.

Put it in the oven and cook for 15 mins. Reduce the oven temperature to 190℃ and cook for another 15 mins. The lamb will be pink. Cover with foil, insulate and leave to rest for 15 – 20 mins.

Chop the rest of the mint for the sekenjabin and add to the syrup.

Put the lettuce leaves into a broad, shallow bowl and serve them with the lamb, along with a smaller bowl containing the sekenjabin. Guests should dip the lettuce leaves in the sekenjabin and add them to their lamb. Serve the lamb’s cooking juices, skimmed of excess fat, in a warm jug on the side.

Little lamb.


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