Brazilian Roast Leg of Lamb with Cachaça (Pernil de Cordeiro Assado na Cachaça)

This celebratory dish feeds a crowd, but leftovers are delicious in sandwiches. The lamb is marinated in cachaça (a Brazilian white rum–like spirit) and seasoned with rosemary and thyme.

Serves: 10Hands-on: 45 minutesTotal: 9 hours 45 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 10


  • 1 cup cachaça
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary, divided
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 leg of lamb (6 lbs.)
  • 2 lbs. small new potatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 heads garlic, cut in half


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together cachaça, lime juice, honey, minced garlic, onion, 1 tablespoon of rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Place the leg of lamb in a large plastic bag, pour the marinade into the bag, and seal. Marinate for several hours in the refrigerator or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the leg of lamb and the marinade in a large roasting pan. Cover with foil and roast for 1 hour.
  • Cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water (skins on) until just tender with a fork, about 10–15 minutes. Drain potatoes, and toss them with olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and remaining rosemary. Add the potatoes and halved garlic heads to the roasting pan and return lamb to the oven, uncovered. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
  • Roast lamb for 30 minutes to an hour longer, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F–150°F for medium rare. Remove lamb from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.