As Easter approaches I’ve been sharing with you some of the recipes that have been my family’s favorites for many years.  We started with the appetizer course.

I shared my recipe for Pimento Goat Cheese Dip here……

Pimento Goat Cheese Dip Recipe |

And I shared my recipe for Deviled Egg Spread and Toast Points here……

Deviled-Egg Spread | Recipe @

Next, I showed you how to make Grilled Spring Vegetables here.

Grilled Spring Vegetables |

Well, today I’m going to give you a recipe that I got from a very dear and longtime friend.  Her name is MJ Sweeney, now a retired US Navy Captain. She is also a mighty good cook.  I have known MJ for 30 years and we have remained friends despite the fact that over the years her Navy career moved her around the globe.  About 25 years ago she was stationed here in Southern California, so we got together frequently.  It was during that time that she prepared for me what I affectionately call Captain MJ Sweeney’s Herbed Leg of Lamb.  I understand she adapted this recipe from one found in a Gilroy Garlic Festival Cookbook.

Captain MJ Sweeny's Herbed Leg of Lamb |

It is one of those recipes that is so good, even people who think they don’t like lamb love it. It’s herby and garlicky and full of flavor because it is smeared all over with a yummy herbal mixture and left to marinate overnight. The meat picks up all that delicious flavor and loses its lamby taste, if you know what I mean.  You then cook it on the grill where it gets a wonderful BBQ’d flavor.

Captain MJ Sweeny's Herbed Leg of Lamb Recipe |

I don’t cook lamb often but I feel that lamb is one of those dishes that signifies Spring and is very appropriate for Easter.  So today I’m going to share my very special lamb recipe with you.  Unfortunately however, I don’t have a photo tutorial of the process. But hey, it’s really easy to make so here goes.


Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This delicious lamb is marinated overnight and is filled with flavor.
Serves: 8
  • Leg of Lamb, Boned, Butterflied & Fatty Layer Removed
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Head Fresh Garlic, Peeled
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • ⅓ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Bone and butterfly the leg of lamb.
  2. Remove also the layer of connective tissue called "silverskin".
  3. Remove all but a very small amount of the outer fatty layer on the lamb.
  4. Place all of the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  5. Blend or process the mixture until it forms a thick paste.
  6. Use a rubber spatula to occasionally scrape down the mixture as it processes.
  7. Slather the herbed paste mixture all over the leg of lamb, top and bottom.
  8. Place in an airtight container and and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.
  9. When ready to cook, remove the lamb from the refrigerator to take the chill off before cooking.
  10. BBQ on high heat for about 12 minutes.
  11. Turn the meat over and continue to BBQ until a thermometer in the thickest part of the meat registers 160 degrees F.
  12. Let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
Do not substitute fresh herbs. For this recipe you need the concentrated flavor of dried herbs. It is a good idea to ask your butcher to bone and butterfly the meat, removing the layer of fat and silverskin as well.


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