Slow-Roasted Shoulder of Lamb


This dish is fantastic for a summer dinner. It really ends up as shredded lamb shoulder; you can cut the lamb with a spoon but I like to shred it off the bone and have a little spicy tomato relish and some fresh salad to serve with it. The shoulder is perfect for this recipe as it has so much connective tissue; you would be hard pressed to find a lamb dish with more flavour. You can use ground spices for this dish, as indeed you can for many others, but you will get a better result if you use whole spices and roast them and grind them yourself. At the very least, try to buy small jars of spice and replace them every six months. Fresh is best.


  • 2 lamb shoulders, on the bone, weighing about 1.25 kg (2 lb 12 oz) each
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground fennel
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 star anise, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
  • lemon wedges
  • freshly ground pepper


The night before, trim the excess fat from the edges of the shoulders. Mix the spices, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil together and rub over the lamb. Put the lamb in a container, loosely cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight.

Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 2 hours before cooking and preheat the oven to 130°C (265°F). Put the shoulders in a roasting tin large enough to fit both and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Add 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) water. Use two sheets of foil joined together to make a tent over the lamb, then cook for 2½-3 hours. Reduce the heat to 110°C (230°F) and cook for 4 hours more. When ready, the lamb will be very well done. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes, then shred the meat off the bone. Put on a platter or divide between plates and serve with lemon and freshly ground pepper.


  • Sautéed Brussels sprouts, herbed pink eye potatoes and tomato and chilli relish would be perfect with the tender lamb.