Yogurt-Marinated Leg of Lamb With Cardamom and Orange

This wet-roasted leg of lamb doesn’t contain a ton of liquid — this is about roasting, not braising, and if you add enough liquid to a cut of meat, you’re not roasting any more. Instead, the lamb is moistened with a yogurt-based marinade laced with fresh mint, orange zest and cardamom. The yogurt keeps the surface of the lamb from drying out and — if you let the lamb sit for a while after you’ve smeared it with the marinade (and you should) — it permeates the meat a bit with the flavors of the marinade. This needs no accompaniment, but if you’re in the mood for some heat, a dab of harissa wouldn’t be out of place.

Don’t know how to carve a lamb? Mark Bittman shows you how in this video.


  • 1 5-to-7-pound leg of lamb, preferably at room temperature, shank removed if necessary
  • ½ cup whole-milk yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

      967 calories; 66 grams fat; 28 grams saturated fat; 27 grams monounsaturated fat; 5 grams polyunsaturated fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 0 grams sugars; 84 grams protein; 311 milligrams cholesterol; 656 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

6 to 8 servings


  1. Heat the oven to 425º. Remove as much of the surface fat as is practical from the lamb. Mix together the yogurt, mint, orange zest, cardamom, salt and pepper; rub the meat all over with the yogurt mixture. If you have time, let the lamb sit for an hour or more (refrigerate if it will be much longer).
  2. Put the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan. (You might line the pan first with aluminum foil to make cleanup easier.) Roast for 30 minutes, then check; if the lamb threatens to burn, turn the heat down to 350º; otherwise leave it at 425º.
  3. After about 1 hour (total) of roasting, check the internal temperature of the lamb with an instant-read thermometer. Continue to check every 10 minutes; when it reaches 130 for medium rare (125 for very rare) in its thickest part (check it in several places), it’s done. Total cooking time will be less than 1 1/2 hours. Let it rest for a few minutes before carving. Serve garnished with more chopped mint.

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