Lamb Leg à la Ficelle Recipe

October 20, 2020

Lamb Leg à la Ficelle

Serves 6 to 8



1 leg of lamb, sirloin and ankle attached, aitch bone removed, roughly 4 to 5 pounds

4 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon crushed black pepper

3 cloves of garlic, pounded

1/2 bunch of thyme, picked and chopped

4 tablespoons olive oil

Butcher twine


Basting liquid

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup white wine 

Pinch of salt

A handful of rosemary sprigs

4 cups cooked beans in a fireproof dish

3 to 4 whole winter squash


Season the leg of lamb one day in advance with salt and pepper. Combine the garlic, thyme and olive oil to make a marinade, and rub all over the leg and place in the refrigerator.

Remove the leg of lamb from the refrigerator to temper 3 to 4 hours before you plan to cook. Tightly tie the twine around the leg to secure the muscle. Fold the top flap of meat (the sirloin) down to cover the exposed bone and secure it with twine. This will help the leg cook evenly. 

Build your fire. You will likely have to get creative here and build some kind of structure. Essentially, the goal is to create a vertical fire, that you can hang a leg of lamb next to and have it cook like a vertical rotisserie. This can either be done indoors, in front of a fireplace or outside at a hearth with a support beam across the top that you can hang the leg from. Once you have built your fire, let it go for at least an hour so it can develop some coals.

To hang the leg, use a double length of twine and tie one end tightly around the shank of the leg and tie a knot. Tie the other end to whatever you’re hanging the leg from, or create a loop if you’re hanging it from a hook. Once it’s hanging, spin the leg from the ankle and watch it slowly spin and unspin.

Stir together the water, white wine and salt to create the basting liquid. Use the rosemary branches to baste with the leg periodically. The leg will cook for about an hour to an hour and a half depending on its size and the fire. A thermometer should read 115 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the leg. 

While the leg is cooking, position the beans underneath the leg to catch the juices and fat while the leg cooks. Place the squash in the coals to cook, rotating occasionally, until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife. Let the squash cool, discard the charred skins, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Let the leg rest for at least 30 minutes once cooked. After it’s rested, cut off the string and carve the leg, being sure to keep the leg resting on the cutting board the whole time while you’re cutting.



Green Olive Tapenade

1/2 cup shallot, diced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 cups green olives, pitted and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, pounded

2 tablespoons capers, chopped

1/2 cup picked parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon picked thyme, chopped

Olive oil


Combine the shallot, red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside to macerate. In a medium bowl, add the olives, garlic, capers, parsley and thyme, and cover with olive oil, about 1/2 cup. Mix to combine. Add in the shallots and taste. Adjust the seasoning to your liking. 

Plate the beans and the lamb and spoon the tapenade over each portion. Serve with the charred squash alongside.