This incredibly tender lamb shoulder roast, flavoured with spices and herbs, has been slow cooked for over 3 hours in the oven, for juicy perfection.
Cooking a bone-in lamb shoulder is incredibly easy. Once you have added your favourite spices and herbs, your lamb roast is ready to go into the oven and you can spend the next 3 hours ticking off other tasks from your to-do list.
It's basically a hands-off cooking method wherein the lamb in the oven does it's own thing. Not only is it easy to prepare, the presentation and taste will top any family roast you have had in the past!
At work, when we wanted to create a tender lamb shoulder roast the best possible way, we always sous vide cooked the meat.
While the result was good, I honestly prefer the slow roasted lamb shoulder version done in the oven - deep roasting flavours and fork tender meat, you can't really top that!
With holidays approaching fast, this impressive slow cooked lamb recipe is a winner right from Easter to Christmas or for that matter - any special occasion!
Lamb shoulder is perfect for slow cooking due to it's high fat content. Buy a bone in shoulder from your local butcher. Quality is key hence choose wisely.
Onion & Garlic are added for flavour and make a delicious garnish for presentation.
Herbs I used rosemary and thyme as that's what I have growing in my garden and goes well with lamb. Other herbs you can use are sage or oregano.
Spices transform the flavours of this lamb dish. Besides fresh ginger, I used coriander, cumin, smoked paprika and fennel, all in form of powder or seeds.
Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper basic ingredients, a must and essential in cooking.
HOW TO COOK A LAMB SHOULDER
Besides using the best possible quality of meat for this recipe, you want to add your favourite flavours too.
Generally I don't remove any fat or bones from the lamb unless really required. As a good practice, you should leave the lamb shoulder at room temperature, at least an hour before cooking.
Place the lamb in a large pot or roasting tray. As we want the flavour of the marinade to go into the meat as much as possible, pierce the flesh with the tip of a knife about 15 times (make sure you spread it out).
As a rule, I believe less is more but for this lamb, I used quite a few ingredients that go well together and enhance the flavour. The spice blend is easy to make - just add all the spices and herbs in a mixer, add olive oil, ginger and garlic.
Mix to a puree and pour over the lamb. Rub the meat all around and season with salt and pepper. Finally drizzle more olive oil on the lamb and around.
roasting the lamb
Giving the lamb a roasting colour in the beginning, adds a lot of flavour and intensifies while the lamb slow cooks.
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (425°F) and place the lamb inside uncovered. Roast for 15-20 minutes, you want the top of the lamb to be brown roasted but not burned.
slow cooking the lamb
Now reduce the heat to 150°C (300°F) and leave the lamb to cook for 3 hours covered with a tight lid or foil.
Here you can add all kinds of vegetables, if you want to make it a one-pot dish. Potatoes, carrots, celery, leeks will all turn out delicious cooked along the lamb. I just added an onion cut in half and a whole garlic bulb.
when it's cooked
While the lamb is in the oven, check once in a while if it is cooking properly. The sound is sometimes enough to let you know, if it is slow cooking the right way. If you hear a sizzle, the temperature is too high and if you hear nothing, it is too low.
After 3 hours slow cooking you should be able to peel the meat away with a fork, if not, the lamb needs longer. If your lamb was large in size, it might need an hour longer.
When cooked, take out the lamb and remove the foil. Transfer the cooking juices in a pot, remove some of the fat from the top and reduce it to about ¾ gravy consistency.
Roast the lamb for 5-10 minutes until you are happy with the colour. This is optional and not required if the lamb has roasted enough.
Now remove the lamb and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. The meat will literally fall off the bone. Oh, and remember - leftovers taste even better the next day!
The best way to serve up this slow roasted lamb shoulder is in the pot you cooked it in, share style. I added pan roasted chickpeas flavoured with cumin and raisins and used some of the cooking liquid to make it even more delicious.
The garlic bulb cut in half, the caramelised onions that had braised with the lamb, grilled spring onions and a bunch of fresh herbs, simple but so good!
On the side we had a fennel salad and minted yoghurt. For more serving ideas read on.
If stored correctly, the lamb can be can be refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
The best way to re-heat any leftover lamb is in an ovenproof dish. Cover with a lid and bake in the oven at 160°C (320°F) until the core is hot.
WHAT TO SERVE IT WITH
The slow cooked lamb shoulder roast is a hearty dish and should be paired with freshly prepared sides and sauces.
If you’re not sure what to serve with it, below are some of our favourite pairings:
- brussels sprout slaw with raisins
- roasted potatoes and paprika creme fraiche
- oven baked vegetable gratin
- middle-eastern tabouleh salad and a sumac dressing
- butternut squash salad with white beans
- smokey eggplant dip
- basil and parmesan pesto
So! What do you think? Have we convinced you to give this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder a go? Want to try other lamb recipes? Make this braised lamb shank dish with oriental spices or this gigot lamb chop recipe, it's delicious too.
We would love to know if you try this recipe so don't forget to leave us a comment and star rating below!
Until then Happy cooking!
Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder Roast
- large pot with lid or oven tray
fore the marinate
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika powder
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon ginger sliced and peeled
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 sprig rosemary leaves removed from stalk
- 3 sprig thyme leaves removed from stalk
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
for the lamb
- 1.6 kilogram lamb shoulder bone-in
- 1 brown onion peeled and cut in half
- 1 garlic bulb cut in half
- salt and pepper
for the marinade
- Add all the spices and herbs in a mixer and add olive oil, ginger and garlic. Mix to a spice oil consistency and pour over the lamb. Rub the meat all around and season with salt and pepper. Finally drizzle more olive oil on the lamb and around.
for the lamb
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (425°F).
- Place the lamb in a large pot or roasting tray. Pierce the flesh with the tip of a knife about 15 times.
- Pour the marinade over the lamb. Rub the meat all around and season with salt and pepper. Finally drizzle more olive oil on the lamb and around.
- Place the lamb in the oven uncovered. Roast for 15-20 minutes, you want the top of the lamb to be brown roasted but not burned.
- Reduce the heat to 150°C (300°F). Add the onion and garlic to the roasting tray and leave the lamb to cook for 3 hours covered with a tight lid or foil.
- While the lamb is in the oven, once in a while check if the lamb is cooking properly. The sound is sometimes enough to let you know if it is slow cooking the right way. If you hear a sizzle, the temperature is too high if you hear nothing it is too low.
- After 3 hours you should be able to peel the meat away with a fork, if not the lamb needs longer.
- When the lamb is cooked, take it out and remove the lid. Transfer the cooking juices in a pot, remove some of the fat from the top and reduce about ¾ to gravy consistency.
- Roast the lamb for 5-10 minutes until you have a nice roasting colour. Remove the lamb and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.