Lamb baked in hay

For those special get-togethers on hay days and holidays, try James Tanner's deliciously different way of preparing lamb
By James Tanner
Lamb baked in hay
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: medium



  • 3 handfuls hay, soaked
  • 1 leg of lamb
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 lemons, zest and flesh
  • 8 sprigs rosemary
  • 100 g sea salt
  • 120 g unsalted butter
  • 1 pinches cracked black pepper


1. Set the oven to 220/gas 8. Take a large deep roasting tray, and line the base with hay to around 5cm thick.

2. Cut 4 deep slits randomly into the lamb and take 4 of the peeled garlic cloves and insert them deep into the lamb.

3. Put the lemon zest and flesh, the rosemary, sea salt, remaining garlic and butter into a food processor and blend into a paste. Rub the paste all over the lamb and then grind over some cracked black pepper.

4. Lay the leg onto the hay, and cover with the rest of the hay.

5. Place a lid on top of the roasting tray (or cover well twice with foil if you have no lid.) It must be completely sealed.

6. Bake for about 2 hours and 30 minutes, depending on the size of the leg.

7. Remove from oven and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

8. Take off the lid or foil, scrape away the hay and carve the lamb leg.

9. Serve with puréed butter beans.

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