What’s cooking today: Stuffed & rolled saddle of Karoo lamb

What’s cooking today: Stuffed & rolled saddle of Karoo lamb
Tony Jackman’s deboned saddle of lamb stuffed with green olives, pickled garlic and spinach. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Deboning a saddle of lamb isn’t all that difficult, and I think it’s the best cut for stuffing, rolling and roasting; it just looks so grand when it comes out of the oven golden and beautiful. I picked some fresh garden spinach leaves and pillaged a jar of green olives to create a delicious green filling.


1 saddle of Karoo lamb

12 green olives

12 small pickled garlic cloves

6 spinach leaves

Coarse salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

2 Tbsp olive oil for coating and 2 Tbsp more for browning

3 Tbsp butter for browning


Debone the saddle, leaving the thinner flank sections intact as well. As ever with deboning, if you follow the bone you’ll get there. In this case it is the backbone in one piece, with the side bones jutting out. Be careful not to cut right through the meat and through the skin at any point. Here’s a useful video. Otherwise, you could ask your butcher…

Preheat the oven to 170℃.

Once it’s deboned and you’ve pulled away the pair of loins, lay it out in front of you with the two loins alongside, as in the video. They will go back in once you’ve laid out the spinach, olives and garlic. Trim away odd stray bits and fat that seems a tad too much, but a bit of fat is always good for roasting meat.

The saddle once deboned, stuffed and rolled. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Season it all over with salt and pepper. Wash and dry the spinach leaves and lay them out to cover what will be the inside of the rolled saddle. Place the olives and pickled garlic cloves along the two ridged indents on each side of the centre. Lay the loins along these. Wrap one flank over as far as it will go, then the other, overlapping. Tie tightly with kitchen string in four to six places, then along the entire length.

Season the outside all round with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Melt butter and a little olive oil in an oven pan on the hob. Brown the meat well on all sides in a moderately hot pan, which should take about 8 to 10 minutes all told.

Transfer to the preheated oven and roast until, when a skewer is inserted to the centre, the juices run pink, not red; about an hour. Mine was a tiny bit beyond medium rare but still tender. I sacrificed a bit of pink for a more caramelised, crispy skin, and it was truly delicious.

I had not scored the skin as in the video, by the way, and it crisped brilliantly anyway. Serve with vegetables of your choice. Charred young broccoli would be good, and some rosemary hasselback potatoes. DM/TGIFood

To enquire about Tony Jackman’s book, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please email him at [email protected]

SUBSCRIBE: There’s much more from Tony Jackman and his food writing colleagues in his weekly TGIFood newsletter, delivered to your inbox every Saturday. Subscribe here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.


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