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Roast lamb in a salt crust

  • 1 hour
  • 1½ hours
  • 8-10
Roast lamb in a salt crust

One of my favourite TV chefs is John Burton Race and this is an adaptation from a recipe in his book Coming Home. The lamb is melt-in-the-mouth delicious. It is truly work the effort for a special family gathering.


  • 2 kilograms short-cut leg of lamb
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • Salt Crust
  • 4 cups flour
  • ¾ cup iodised salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • ¾-1 cup water
  • Herb Breadcrumbs
  • 1½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ¼ cup light-flavoured oil
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glazing
  • fresh mint sauce


  1. Season the leg of lamb liberally with salt and pepper. Brown the lamb all over in a very hot frying pan in a dash of oil. This takes about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and place on a large plate.
  2. Brush or spread the mustard all over the lamb, cover and set aside while preparing the salt crust.
  3. Fit an electric mixer with the dough hook. Put the flour, salt and thyme into the bowl. Turn the mixer on to its lowest speed and gradually add the egg whites as fast as the flour can absorb them. Mix for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Increase the speed a little and slowly add the water. As the paste comes together, reduce the speed and continue mixing for a further 2 minutes. Add more water, if required, to make moist dough lumps.
  5. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and bring the dough together to make a ball. Wrap loosely in plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 230ºC. Lightly grease a shallow baking tray or dish.
  7. In a bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, garlic and oil and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Place the lamb on a chopping board and sprinkle all the breadcrumbs over the top of the lamb, pressing them down firmly onto the lamb to stick them together.
  9. Unwrap the salt dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured bench, roll one half out to a 4-mm thickness. Sit the lamb on this piece and bring it up and around the leg, pressing the sides on so that it sticks to the lamb. Brush the edges of the pastry, especially where it meets the lamb, with beaten egg. This will act as a glue.
  10. Roll the remaining piece of dough out to a 4-mm thickness and place on top of the leg of lamb. It will overlap the first piece of dough. Press the edges together to seal well. Brush the dough liberally with beaten egg and transfer to the prepared baking tray.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200ºC and continue to cook for 1 hour. Should the crust become too brown, cover with foil or brown paper.
  12. Remove the lamb from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Cut down the middle of the salt crust pastry and, with a carving fork, remove the leg to a board for carving. Drain and reserve any juices for adding to the fresh mint sauce. Discard the salt crust shell and serve the lamb carved. Accompany with fresh mint sauce and seasonal vegetables.

Cooks Tips

-A short-cut leg of lamb has the rump end removed and no knuckle. -Dijon or mild English mustard is best here.

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