How-To Guides

How to cook diced leg of lamb

How long does diced lamb take to cook?

The hind leg of a lamb provides quite lean meat as the set of muscles that make up the joint get through quite a lot of work. In this country, the leg itself is most commonly associated with a roast dinner. However, the diced leg can be cooked to two basic principles. Either quickly, perhaps over coals, in a pan, or on a grill. This method will yield succulent, juicy little cubes of lamb, at their absolute best, cooked to medium.

On the flip side, you have the option to braise or slow-cook the diced lamb leg. This would work nicely in a stew, curry, tagine, or something of the like.

For the former method, cooking times will be short – 5-6 minutes in a hot pan or 7-10 over some hot coals. If opting for the latter method, then allow around an hour to an hour and a half. As mentioned, this is lean meat and if overcooked, could either become tough and chewy in the case of the former method, or a little dry in the case of the latter.

How to cook diced leg of lamb

To cook over coals:

  1. Take your diced lamb leg out of the fridge and remove all packaging. Pat the meat dry and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Marinade the meat as desired, preferably a few hours before cooking.
  3. Skewer the meat onto metal bbq skewers or wooden skewers soaked in water (to stop them from catching fire).
  4. Set the skewers over the smouldering coals of your bbq — when the charcoal has stopped flaming and is burning a grey-white then it is ready to cook on.
  5. Allow one side of the meat to caramelise and char slightly, about 1 ½ – 2 minutes, depending on the heat of your bbq, before turning the skewer 45° and repeating. When cooking over coals, this colour and crust on the meat is essential to the experience, so be patient if needed.
  6. Once all sides of the skewer have that unmistakable bbq char and smoky aroma, then remove them from the heat and set to one side to rest, briefly. They are ready to eat.

To slow cook or braise:

  1. Take your diced lamb leg out of the fridge and remove all packaging. Pat the meat dry and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Fry off the diced lamb leg in a pan with a little oil or butter. Remove from the pan once browned. This browning will add flavour to the dish.
  3. Add to the pan any vegetables, herbs or spices, as your recipe requires. Cook these off until their full flavour has been released.
  4. Add the diced lamb leg back to the pan along with any cooking liquid i.e. stock, water, wine or tinned tomatoes.
  5. Bring this to a simmer and then either continue to simmer on a low heat or place in the oven at 130°C for 1-1 ½ hours. The meat should be tender enough to easily cut through with a fork.

Top tips for cooking diced leg of lamb

  • If you are thinking about firing up the bbq, give serious consideration to your marinade and try if possible, to do it the night before. If something really simple is your vibe, then just rosemary and several cloves of crushed garlic — after all, you can’t beat the classics.
  • Yoghurt with lots of cumin, garlic, chilli flakes and other selected spices for a take on the classic lamb shish —have the flatbreads and salad at the ready.
  • A simple trick that we enjoy is to blitz a tablespoon of toasted cumin seeds with a tablespoon of sea salt and half a teaspoon of chilli flakes in a spice grinder for seasoning the skewer when it comes off the bbq.

Diced lamb leg recipes

Try this grilled marinated lamb skewer recipe from Valentine Warner for a delicious addition to your barbecue feasts.