Olive Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Fig and Cherry Compote Recipe and Alfresco Vancouver

Last night, I attended an impromptu conceptual event called Alfresco Vancouver where 60 strangers congregated in a public space and dined pot-luck style. The lively, communal event contrasted against the brick-paved urban lot in the heart of trendy Yaletown.

White-attired attendees sat on the floor along a lit, accordion-style paper table. Tea-lights glowing in white paper bags completed the cultish appeal. We brought our own utensils, sipped discrete beverages out of plastic mugs, and shared food, stories, and laughs.

Moving. Memorable. Middle-finger to the squares.

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This is what I brought: Olive Stuffed Leg of Lamb, Fig and Cherry Compote.

It was a hit. If you tried some, I hope you enjoyed it!


  • 4.5 lb Fraser Valley leg of lamb, butterflied
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves


  • 200 g olives, pitted and chopped
  • Zest of 2 lemons + juice of 1
  • 1 head of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • several sprigs of thyme, stripped


  • 1 cup cherries, pitted
  • 2 cups figs, quartered
  • 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • several sprigs of thyme, tied with twine


Preheat oven to 400˚F (204˚C)

Combine stuffing ingredients.

Trim the lamb of excess fat and sinuous bits. Wash and pat dry. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then massage the meat with some olive oil.

Spread the stuffing in one even layer. Layer on basil leaves. Roll and truss the lamb to create a roast. Adjust the diameter of the roast to ensure even cooking time. Place the lamb on a roasting pan, rub over once more with olive oil, and place into the hot oven.

While the lamb is roasting, add the thyme, cinnamon stick and Balsamic vinegar into a medium sauce pan. Reduce the vinegar by 1/3 on medium heat. Add the cherries, figs, and honey. Simmer for 3 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside.

A nice brown crust should form on the lamb after 15 minutes of cooking. When the desired colour is achieved, drape a piece of aluminum foil over the meat and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 135˚F (57˚C).

Remove from the oven and allow the meat to rest under a foil tent for 15 minutes.

Remove the thyme and cinnamon stick from the compote. Carve the lamb and serve with warm compote on the side.

Until next time, my lovelies.

  1. August 27, 2009 by Col

    Thanks for posting the recipe! Your lamb was the hit of the entire night. Nom nom nom.

  2. August 27, 2009 by CheapAppetite

    This is so Yaletown. Even potluck dinner needs a dress code. lol. Your lamb looks great. You always take lovely food photo.

  3. August 27, 2009 by sizzlechef

    Wow ! Nice. Thank you for sharing. Cheers !

  4. August 28, 2009 by Jessie

    wow! that lamb looks like an edible work of art, now I know that it was gone within minutes of placing onto the table. YUM!

  5. August 28, 2009 by Rico

    super well made and presented what a balance of flavours and presentation Rico|Recipes

  6. August 28, 2009 by Mathilde's Cuisine

    Thanks for sharing what looks like a great recipe. Figues and lamb always go very well together. Un délice !

  7. August 28, 2009 by Alta

    Wow this looks so good! I am hosting a dinner party next month and planned on doing Greek-style braised lamb shanks, but if I can nail down some figs, this might be a better option!

  8. August 28, 2009 by Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer

    WOW your photos jump off the screen!! Looks so incredible what a wonderful recipe!!

  9. August 28, 2009 by Rose

    Wow… That looks amazing. Cherries, fig, lamb?! Heaven! I can’t wait to try this.

  10. August 29, 2009 by amanda

    your lamb was super tasty, and I am so happy to have your recipe so I can try it for myself. It was great to meet you and look forward to more new foods, friends+fun at the next one!!

  11. August 29, 2009 by Divina

    Really love the recipe and all the ingredients in there. Thanks.

  12. August 29, 2009 by Miriam/The winter guest

    It does look wonderful! I’ve been wanting to cook a stuffed lamb leg for some time, maybe I can do it now. I love olives.

  13. August 29, 2009 by Cookin' Canuck

    Wow, what a recipe! I am definitely inviting you to my next potluck.

  14. August 29, 2009 by Nutrition to kitchen

    That looks absolutely beautiful! The fig and cherry compote seems like a perfect combination with the lamb. Yum! :)

  15. August 29, 2009 by Julie

    WOW. How cool is that?? I wish I could have been there! I wonder if it would work in Calgary…

  16. August 31, 2009 by Sam@BingeNYC

    Oh my goodness – That looks so delicious. I’m totally going through a fig kick right now. Looks like I’ll have to throw a party as an excuse to try your recipe out!

  17. September 07, 2009 by jenni

    wow melly..
    i can almost smell it.!! LOL

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