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When you think of a truly traditional South African Christmas feast, what comes to mind? Roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes, cinnamon and sugar butternut chunks, caramelized onion gravy, and the obligatory (yet still very tasty) mound of peas, right? Yep, Christmas lamb roast is the kind of festive spread most South Africans have grown up with, and whether you are spending Christmas on home soil or abroad this season, there’s no reason why this year should miss out on the feast that you’re used to. This year, you’re going to make a lamb roast that’s one for the books!

Christmas lamb roast

Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe

While you can probably find a leg of lamb recipe in grandma’s recipe book and keeping with traditions is great, this year feels like the type of year to create a roast with a difference…something with a delectable twist. And we have just the roast leg of lamb recipe that can help you with that. Presenting…. (drum roll please!) the South Africanised Turkish Inspired Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe. Let’s not waste anymore time – let’s jump right into the recipe! Before you even ask “what’s the South African twist?” you’re going to cook this leg of lamb in a potjie pot!

What You Need:

  • 1 leg of lamb (deboned)
  • 1/2 a lemon (juiced)
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 4 to 5 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 litre of white wine mixed with 1/2 litre of water
  • 1 potjie pot

What to Do:

  • Make a nice concoction by chopping up the fresh rosemary quite finely and mixing it in with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  • Now, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Massage this concoction into the lamb. You will need to massage for at least 5 minutes.
  • Cover the leg of lamb up and leave it resting, at room temperature, for approximate 1 hour. During this time, you can prepare the fire and make sure that the coals are ready.
  • When the coals are at medium heat, place the lamb leg into the potjie pot and add in your water/wine mixture along with the bay leaves.
  • This needs to cook very slowly for around two hours. Make sure that you keep a close eye on it. If your coals are too hot, all your water will vanish and that won’t end well for your roast. You can add an extra splash of wine here and there as needed.
  • Add a few of the hot coals to the lid of the potjie pot which will help to add some colour to the top of your roast.
  • Once the leg of lamb is cooked through, remove it from the coals and leave it to rest for around 20 minutes. This is best served with potatoes and a variety of veg or salads.

Serving up a roast lamb with gravy is the norm, but if you want to do things a little differently, whip up a sweet onion marmalade to smear over slices of lamb. It’s a treat you and your guests will never forget. Here’s how to make sweet onion marmalade.

How to Make Sweet Onion Marmalade to Complement Your Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe

The delectable taste of sweet onion marmalade will leave you feeling as if it is a complicated thing to make, but really, it’s not. Here’s how to whip up a batch for Christmas this year.

What You Need:

  • 1/2 kg of sweet onions cut in half and then thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon of dried ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

What to Do:

  • Saute the onions in a large saucepan over medium heat, with olive oil.
  • Add the salt, pepper, and brown sugar – stir it in.
  • Cook the onions for 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring continuously. The onions should be translucent and softened, but don’t let them get mushy.
  • Turn the heat up a little and add the balsamic vinegar. Cook the mixture for around 5 to 10 minutes until all the liquid is dissolved. This is now forming a marmalade.
  • Taste it, and add salt, pepper and sugar as needed. You know how salty or sweet you want it to be!
  • Scoop the mixture out in serving jars and chill before serving.

You can keep any left over marmalade in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

FinGlobal: For South Africans

Is there anything sweeter than sweet onion marmalade slathered on succulent slices of lamb roast? Yes, in fact there is: the efficient services of FinGlobal! At FinGlobal, we appreciate a great Christmas feast recipe, but we also have our finger to the pulse of all things finance related for SA expats. We provide premier advice and guidance to South African expats across the globe and look forward to doing the same for you. We can assist you with accessing your retirement annuity funds, transferring your pension, and finalizing your tax and financial emigration from the country. If you need help or advice, simply get in touch with you. You can give us a call or send us an email and one of our friendly and knowledgeable consultants will be delighted to assist you further.