Food & Drink

Michael Symon's holiday recipe for roasted lamb with tzatziki sauce

He's a Beard Award winner, cookbook author, Iron Chef, and a beloved son of Cleveland (no, Drew Carey's not his brother). But when the holidays come around, Michael Symon's just another hungry celebrant. Of course, his feast miiiiight be a little fancier than yours... unless you follow his family recipe for roasted leg of lamb with tzatziki sauce. Which you should.

Roasted Lamb with Tzatziki

Total Time: 2 hours, minus downtimeYield: Dependent on leg size


For lamb:

  • 6 shallots, minced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 6-pound bone-in leg of lamb
  • Tzatziki sauce (ingredients below)

For Tzatziki sauce:

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. For the tzatziki, put the yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl and let drain for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Peel and dice the cucumber. Sprinkle it with salt and place in a strainer at room temperature for 2-3 hours to drain.
  2. Stir together the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, mint, garlic, and shallot in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. For the lamb, mix together in a medium bowl the shallots, garlic, rosemary, sugar, coriander, red pepper flakes, and salt. Rub the mixture all over the surface of the lamb. Place in a large glass baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Remove the lamb from the baking dish, rinse off the seasonings, and pat dry. Let the lamb sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  6. Heat a roasting pan or large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the lamb and brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the lamb, fat side up, to a roasting rack set into a roasting pan. Roast until the lamb reaches an internal temperature of 140°F, about 1½ hours.
  7. Remove the lamb from the pan and set it aside to rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Slice the lamb and serve with the tzatziki sauce.

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