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Leg of lamb with basil stuffing

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for leg of lamb with basil stuffing from Rodney Dunn.

By Rodney Dunn
  • Serves 8
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Leg of lamb with basil stuffing
"This basil stuffing is based on pesto and is quite versatile, so much so that I use it for everything from chicken to beef," writes Dunn. "A lamb leg is quite straightforward to debone, but if you have neither the will nor the time, feel free to ask your butcher. Be sure to leave the shank bone in - the presentation is much nicer. You can also cook a lamb shoulder the same way, although you may want to give it longer in the oven."


  • 1 3.3kg leg of lamb, deboned (about 2.8kg after deboning)
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
Basil stuffing
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 80 gm basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 50 gm (1/3 cup) pine nuts
  • 20 gm (¼ cup) finely grated parmesan
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 140 gm (2 cups) fresh breadcrumbs


  • 1
    For basil stuffing, heat olive oil in a frying pan over low heat, add onion and a pinch of sea salt and cook, stirring often, over low heat until caramelised (about 10 minutes). Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, place basil leaves, garlic and a pinch of salt in a mortar and, using a pestle, crush coarsely. Add pine nuts and parmesan and pound to a smooth paste, then stir in extra-virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Combine pesto, breadcrumbs and caramelised onion.
  • 2
    Place lamb skin-side down on a clean work surface and evenly spread basil stuffing over meat. Starting at one of the long sides, roll up and secure with kitchen twine.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 200C. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based casserole, add lamb and cook over high heat, turning frequently, until golden brown (5-6 minutes). Cover, place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 160C and cook for a further 40 minutes – this will result in medium-rare meat.
  • 4
    To serve, remove twine and cut lamb into 3cm thick slices.


Note This recipe is from The Agrarian Kitchen ($59.99, hbk) by Rodney Dunn, published by Lantern, and reproduced with minor GT style changes.
Drink Suggestion: A classic “claret” blend of cabernet and merlot. Drink suggestion by Max Allen