Slow-Cooked Shoulder of Elwy Valley Lamb


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Today's special: A new take on bistro food

Today's special

By Anthony Demetre

Published 2008

  • About

Shoulder is without doubt the best-flavoured of all the lamb joints. Cooked slowly in this way and served at room temperature, there can be few more satisfying pieces of meat. Elwy Valley lamb is a favourite with many restaurateurs, as it continually comes top of comparative tastings. Farmed up to 1,000 feet in the Welsh mountains, in view of the Snowdonia range, the lambs are raised to both animal welfare and environmentally friendly standards.


  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lamb shoulder, preferably Elwy Valley, weighing about 2.5 kg
  • 100 g butter
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 4 onions, thinly sliced
  • 15 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs of summer or winter savory
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400 ml white wine


Preheat the oven to 120°C/gas ½. For this recipe you will need a roasting tray or deep cast-iron pot which has a tight-fitting lid. In it, colour the seasoned lamb shoulder all over in the butter and olive oil. Take out and set aside.

Do not pour away the fat, but add the onions, garlic and herbs, and lightly colour. Pour in the white wine and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and return the lamb to the tray or pot. Season it again with salt and pepper. Cover and place in the preheated oven and slow-bake for about 4–5 hours, basting frequently. The pot must not dry out, so add a splash of water if necessary at any point.

When the lamb is tender, turn the oven setting up to about 180°C/gas 4, lift the cover off and continue to bake for about another 15 minutes, which will crisp up the lamb skin. Remove from the oven.

Leave to cool until just warm – I think that this is the best temperature to serve this dish. It goes really well with the Stuffed tomatoes ‘Greek style’ or the English peas with lettuce and bacon.