Before preparing this dish, ensure oven is capable of holding a tray large enough prior to cooking.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (30 votes)


  • 1 lamb approx. 12 kg, hind quarters removed

Marinade (to coat lamb)

  • ghee
  • tomato paste
  • cinnamon
  • salt and pepper


  • 1½ kg short-grain rice
  • offal, lungs, kidney, liver and heart from your lamb, finely diced
  • 500 g topside
  • 4 large onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs (thyme, winter savory)
  • 2 tbsp ghee (or butter)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


With a meat cleaver make an incision, crossways (in spine) approx. 15 cm from base but do not cut completely through – only the bone.

Mix the above ingredients to make enough paste to cover the whole lamb well. Rub paste inside the cavity of the lamb and over the outside. Leave to marinate while preparing stuffing.

Use a heavy-based saucepan and sauté rice with olive oil so that grains glisten. Be careful not to burn rice. As this is a large amount of rice it should be done in three to four batches. When completed place rice to one side.

Using the same heavy-based saucepan, pour in 3–4 tbsp of olive oil. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add ghee and the offal and topside. Stir constantly and cook well. Then add the tomato paste, cinnamon, dried herbs and salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover and then add the rice.

Bring to boil, then simmer for 1 hour or until the rice has absorbed the moisture, occasionally checking and stirring. When water is almost absorbed remove from heat.

To stuff the lamb, place lamb on its back and  begin to sew the carcass together with a needle and thread. Begin to place the stuffing inside of cavity.

As stuffing progresses simultaneously sew carcass together ensuring mixture does not escape during roasting.

Prepare a very large backing tray by placing a rack in the base and filling the base of the tray with water. Place the stuffed lamb on the rack. Cover the whole lamb with foil and cook for 6–8 hours at 150°C, or until cooked through.  


• To sew lamb you may choose butchers twine or strong cotton. During the cooking process check lamb to see that there is always water in the bottom of tray.