Slow Roast Shoulder of Lamb

Posted By Stephen


We have cooked slow roast shoulder of lamb a couple of times in the past and it always looms large in our memories as one of the tastiest meals that we can remember, especially considering that it’s so easy to prepare. Kerri’s family came to visit today and so we gladly took the opportunity to cook this again.

The recipe that we’ve followed is this one, which is based on a recipe from Jamie Oliver. There are not many ingredients and it is simple to prepare, which makes the utter deliciousness all the more brilliant. The lamb cooks for a long time and becomes very tender, falling away from the bone so much that the bones come out completely clean when you remove the meat from them.

The recipe specifies a sauce made from the roasted garlic, with chicken stock, capers, mint and red wine vinegar. We’ve loved this in the past and although it might not sound like it, it does go with food in the same way that a normal gravy would. It just has fresher notes due to the mint and a slight complex bitterness from the capers. Delicious. This time we made it with half the capers and mint that the recipe specified and it was still very good.

We served this with both mashed potato and roast potatoes because different people wanted different types. Also green beans, kale and swede. The sauce magically goes with everything.

The recipe goes like this:

* 1 (2 kg) lamb shoulder, with the bone in
* 1 bunch fresh rosemary (a large bunch, or two small bunches)
* 1 bulb of garlic, broken into unpeeled cloves (use more if you love garlic)
* olive oil
* salt
* black pepper, freshly ground
* 1 tablespoon flour
* 500 ml chicken stock
* 2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and finely chopped
* 1 large bunch fresh mint, leaves only, very finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


* First, preheat your oven as high as it will go.
* Using a sharp knife, score the fat layer of the lamb at about 1″ (2.5cm) intervals, then do it in the opposite direction to form a diamond pattern. I did this a bit too eagerly, making the intervals too small and cutting through the fat into the meat, but it didn’t matter.
* Pour some olive oil over your lamb, rub it in with your hands and then sprinkle liberally with salt and ground black pepper, rubbing the seasoning in well with your hands too.


* Pour a little olive oil into a lidded casserole dish and lay half of the rosemary sprigs into it, then scatter half of the garlic gloves amongst the rosemary springs.


* Place the lamb into the casserole, on top of the rosemary and garlic and scatter the rest of the rosemary and garlic cloves on top of the lamb.


* Put the lid onto the casserole and put it into the oven on the middle shelf of your pre-heated oven before turning down to 170°C (325°F), or 160°C for a fan-assisted oven.
* Cook for four hours at this temperature. It does not need much attention, it will quite happily cook away to a deliciously soft state.

* Remove the lamb from the casserole; cover it with foil and leave to rest for a while.
* Remove and discard any sprigs of rosemary in the casserole. Don’t worry about the little leaves that have fallen off the sprigs. Remove the roasted garlic cloves to a plate and let them cool a little.
* Remove all but one tablespoon of oil from the pan. We find that a LOT of oil cooks out of the lamb, and it has a strangely green hue from the rosemary. Try to remove only the oil; retain and other juices that have cooked out of the lamb.
* Take some of the roasted garlic cloves and squeeze out the soft, nutty, garlicky insides, mash them up with a spoon and put them back into the casserole.
* Place the casserole on the hob over a medium heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of flour, then stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, gradually add the chicken stock. Boil, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
* Add the finely chopped mint, capers and red wine vinegar, stirring it all in.
* Boil gently for a few minutes, then pour into a jug for serving.
* To serve the lamb, simply pull it away from the bone with a knife and fork or two forks. It should break up very easily.

* Serve the lamb with potatoes, some green vegetables and plenty of the sauce. Delicious.

Jan 26th, 2009

58 Comments to 'Slow Roast Shoulder of Lamb'

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  1. Jules said,

    We have half a lamb in the freezer and I was wondering what on earth to do with it. I think I have found the answer! This look delicious.

    Jules’s last blog post..Cookery Club – the beginning

  2. Jonathan said,

    This is my sort of food. So tasty. Do you ever use anchovies with your lamb. It tends to work really well. Adds a really deep savoury note. Classic Hopkinson.

    I just love it when you can “carve” with a spoon. Yum.

    Jonathan’s last blog post..Dish Dash – Slap Dash

  3. YOUR MUM said,

    Thanks for dinner on Sunday – the lamb was absolutely delicious – truly the best shoulder of lamb I have ever tasted. I am trying this recipe myself next week.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Lizzie said,

    I had this recipe marked to try too, I love capers so much I couldn’t see me not liking it. The picture of the lamb is great.

    Lizzie’s last blog post..Double-Herbed Meatballs

  5. Kerri said,

    I hope you love it as much as we do Jules, I really don’t think you can go wrong.

    We often use anchovies with a leg of lamb Jonathan, it’s a great combination.

    Thanks Mum :) I hope it’s a success.

    There’s nothing to not love Lizzie, it’s such a simple dish but full of great flavours.

  6. Helen said,

    Oh my God it looks amazing! So tender – great pictures too. I realy love capers like Lizzie so I reckon I might try this recipe.

    Helen’s last blog post..Crispy Chinese Roast Pork Belly.

  7. Baby Bro said,

    Mum has tapped me for some of my rosemary bush/tree. I wondered what it was for? And now I know!
    Dinner was fantastic by the way!

  8. Antonia said,

    Those photos are fantastic – the lamb looks absolutely perfect. I really need to get a casserole big enough to hold a shoulder of lamb!

    Antonia’s last blog post..Moroccan rack of lamb

  9. Kerri said,

    Thanks Helen, I reckon you’ll love it too!

    Are you going round for lunch, little Brother?

    Thanks Antonia, this was actually quite a lot smaller than shoulders we’ve had in the past but any excuse to go shopping huh?!

  10. Niamh said,

    Oh! That does look good! You’ve inspired me to try it :-)

    Niamh’s last blog post..Salsify & Roast Garlic Soup

  11. Susan said,

    I cooked this recipe last weekend (with pots dauphinoise) and it was truly divine! I was slightly concerned that 170 was quite hot for four hours of cooking and also because there was no mention of any basting but I stuck to the recipe and it was sooo succulent. My friends were bowled over by my amazing cooking! Winner thanks! I used my largest le creuset and it just squeezed in! :)

  12. Kerri said,

    Thanks Niamh, I’m sure you’ll love it too.

    That’s really good to hear Susan, I know what you mean about the cooking time and the lack of liquid but somehow it works out perfectly…I guess it has something to do with the amount of fat!

  13. c+j said,

    My mouth is totally watering. The meat looks so tender. I have to try this!

    c+j’s last blog post..Masala Chai

  14. Kerri said,

    It’s my favourite way of cooking lamb I think, c+j, I hope you like it.

  15. tony Mc said,

    I am going to try this on Tuesday, will add back with comments.

  16. Stephen said,

    Good luck Tony, I hope it works out well!

  17. Pip said,

    We made this for the second time tonight, thank you! I couldn’t get hold of any fresh mint (will get a plant asap), so subbed parsely instead & it was still lovely.

  18. Kerri said,

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! Good to know about the parsley too.

  19. Bubbles said,

    Is it okay to leave out the capers?

  20. Stephen said,

    Bubbles, you can leave out the capers if you like. They do give a nice slightly bitter edge to the sauce which goes well with the lamb, but if you don’t like the flavour of them then leave them out, I am sure it will still taste good.

  21. davie bell said,

    i’ll be trying this tomorrow never tried capers before and im not the biggest mint fan in the world but in for a penny in for a pound it sounds magic i’ll let you know how i get on !

  22. Kerri said,

    I hope you enjoy it, Davie. The mint and capers add a lighter note to what can be quite a heavy dish. They can be an acquired flavour but are really worthwhile here.

  23. Bev Toogood said,

    We’re snowed in and I ‘found’ a shoulder of lamb in the chest freezer last night. Cooking this now – after half an hour in the oven it smells divine already – the family will be in a state of torture by the time it comes out :)

  24. Stephen said,

    Bev I hope you enjoyed it and it lessened the pain of being snowed in somewhat!

  25. david said,

    Tried this twice now and amazing results….it is so easy and straightforward. Was surprised there was no need to add liquid or brown the meat initially at a high temperature. Bought a half shoulder of lamb, blade side from Morrisons for about £7.56 and expect there to be about two meals worth of lamb for 2 adults and 2 kids…..mmmmmmm

  26. Kerri said,

    My mum cooked this yesterday, David, and said the same thing as you about the liquid. I’m glad you enjoyed, it’s such an easy and economical dish.

  27. Kit P. said,

    The lamb cooked perfectly, despite my reservations, and was falling off the bone. For the entire afternoon, the house was fragrant with meaty rosemary. However, the gravy did not turn out as well with the oil refusing to emulsify and the dripping solids turning slightly gluggy. With the moist meat, fortunately, the lumpy gravy was not required anyway.

  28. Kerri said,

    We had this today too, Kit. I’m glad you enjoyed it, shame about the sauce though. I agree it’s good without but the mint and capers really lift the dish. We find that removing almost all of the oil so that it’s mostly just meat juices left behind makes a sauce that’s not “gluggy”. Hope it works out next time, if you try it again.

  29. Iain Shaw said,

    It’s a great recipe. I think the heat and duration works because of the way shoulder cooks. Lots of connective tissue. Tastes fantastic but I think the sauce could do with being slightly more acidic. I’m going to experiment with more capers next time. Thanks for the recipe and photos

  30. ukmark said,

    OK Ovens on, selves rolled up and got me some good looking lamb. so heres hoping for a great tasty bit of grub!

  31. Kerri said,

    Hope it worked out well, Mark.

  32. Peter said,

    This recipe looks fantastic but I have one question, will the cooking time be the same if I use half a shoulder ?

  33. Kerri said,

    Hi Peter,

    We don’t tend to alter the cooking time a lot when using half a shoulder, possibly reduce by half an hour but that’s all. It’s a very forgiving cut, we’ve cooked it for three hours or as long as six if we’ve been out and it’s never been too badly affected.

  34. David Marshall said,

    The slow cooked shoulder was delicious when cooked overnight in the simmering oven of the Aga.

  35. simon said,

    wow! amazing pictures and it looks great! cant wait to try it out in the week.

  36. Kerri said,

    I hope you like it, Simon. I have a craving for this and suspect it might appear again soon.

  37. Karen said,

    I’ve used this recipe three or four times. Perfect every time and goes down a storm with the family. Thanks for keeping it on here.

  38. Nima Tarson said,

    Quite good. Did mine in a crockpot. Followed the directions for the sauce/gravy. Perfect. Would recommend with white rice.

  39. ukmark said,

    Long time in getting back but have to say this is one delicious way to have lamb .. Yum, when I cooked this it turned out perfect and everyone loved it.

  40. christopher said,

    I’m cooking this tomorrow for me and my girlfriend, its the first proper big meal that I have ever cooked for her but I’m looking forward to it! Do you think half a shoulder would be enough for 2 people? We are big eaters btw lol! Ill let you know how I got on! If you don’t write back in time ill just have to go for the full shoulder lol the sandwiches will be nice for work next week anyway lol!

  41. Paula said,

    Bought a half shoulder of lamb to slow cook. I’ve searched for recipe and wasn’t keen with the professional ones. I like the look of this one, so here goes. I will let you know how it goes. The only problem is I don’t have any capers and it’s too wet to go out. Don’t grow capers In Herb garden! Lol!!

  42. Susann said,

    Great recipe – I’m going to try it out on Sunday for my friends. However, there will be 8 of us and my butcher recommended I buy 2 shoulders ie 3 kgs in total.

    If I have 2 shoulders in the oven at the same time how will it affect the roasting time?!!! Please can someone advise!


  43. Stephen said,

    Susann, just do them for the same time as you would do one shoulder. Enjoy!

  44. Stephen said,

    Paula, good luck, hope it goes well! The capers do add a lovely flavour to it, but if you don’t have them then do it without them and then just try doing it again with them :)

  45. Flo Inkastres said,

    We had this today & it was fantastic. Go easy on the salt though & be sure to make the sauce … it’s delicious!

  46. Megyanee said,

    I made this today it was awesome my husband loved it…. It was perfectly cooked… Thank you…

  47. Reni said,

    hi, do you think this method will work with a leg of lamb?

  48. Stephen said,

    It will probably work with a leg but the result will be different. The shoulder has more fat in it than the leg and that fat slowly cooks away during the long cooking process and results in very soft meat that falls away from the bone. Using a leg would could out a bit drier, but would still be tasty I’m sure. Good luck if you try it!

  49. Kerri said,

    There are lots of recipes around that use a leg. I thought we had done it this way actually but I can’t find any reference to it.

  50. Mark Daynes said,

    Made this slow cooked lamb last night. Absolutely delicious.

  51. Thomas King said,

    Great recipe. Dead easy and great results.

    Thomas King

  52. Melanie said,

    Just made this tonight and its delicious. My family devoured it and we have decided that this recipe will be a regular for us. Love it. Thank you.

  53. Caspar Plunkett said,

    Thizzz was the shizzz… Luckily I had all the ingredients at home this sunday, turned out just superb

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