Thyme-Roast Lamb with Caramelized Vegetables

In Iceland, arctic thyme is a popular herb for cooking; it’s got a fragrant, lavender-like flavor. Regular thyme works just as well in the honey paste that coats the lamb as it roasts. Slideshow:  More Lamb Recipes 

Thyme-Roast Lamb with Caramelized Vegetables
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs


  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped thyme, plus 5 thyme sprigs

  • 1/2 tablespoon dried lavender or herbes de Provence

  • 8 juniper berries

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1/2 cup canola oil

  • Five 3-inch strips of lemon zest

  • 3 bay leaves

  • One 5-pound bone-in leg of lamb, excess fat trimmed

  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into wedges

  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • Sea salt


  1. In a blender, puree the garlic, chopped thyme, lavender, juniper berries, honey and oil to a smooth paste. Stir in the lemon zest and bay leaves. On a rimmed baking sheet, rub the marinade all over the lamb. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a roasting pan, toss the onions, parsnips, carrots and thyme sprigs with the butter. Season with salt. Set the lamb on the vegetables and roast for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, basting occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg registers 140° for medium-rare.

  3. Increase the oven temperature to 450° and roast for 10 minutes longer, until the lamb is deep golden brown. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve the lamb and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with the vegetables.

Suggested Pairing

Medium-bodied, spice-driven red.

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