Incredible Slow Roasted Shoulder of Lamb

Total Time
4hrs 30mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 4 hrs

This is an amazing recipe, very slightly adapted from Jamie Oliver's "Jamie at Home" recipe book and television series. Don't be fooled by the simple ingredients - the flavour in this is amazing! What's more, the shoulder is one of the cheaper cuts of lamb and this recipe will serve 6 generously. I love that you can plonk it in the oven early in the morning, and forget about it for four hours. It emerges moist and so tender it just falls off the bone. No need to slice it, just pull it apart with two forks. I served it with Paris Mash (finely mashed potatoes with lashings of butter, cream and milk), and finely sliced white and red cabbage, English spinach and rocket (arugula) lightly boiled in salted water (I used the potato water) then drained and tossed with a knob of butter. Unbelievably good! You could serve this to anyone!

Ingredients Nutrition

  • Lamb

  • 1 (2 kg) lamb shoulder, bone in (ask the butcher to score lightly between the bones for you)
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary (a large bunch, or two small bunches)
  • 1 bulb of garlic, unpeeled (use 2 bulbs if you love garlic)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt, crushed
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 500 ml chicken stock (from a can or carton is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, soaked, drained and chopped (optional, I hate capers, so I leave them out)
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked off and very finely chopped (a large bunch, or 2 small bunches)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


  1. First, preheat your oven up as hot as it will go.
  2. Now, using a sharp knife, slash through the fat layer of the lamb at about 1" (2.5cm) intervals, then do it in the opposite direction to form a diamond pattern.
  3. Pour a little olive oil into the base of a high-sided (2-3" deep) roasting tin and then add half of the rosemary sprigs - Jamie is quite generous with the amount of rosemary, so don't be shy about it - I guess I used about 12 x 5" sprigs on the bottom, and another 10-12 on top).
  4. Scatter over half of the unpeeled garlic cloves (a full bulb if you're a garlic freak, half a bulb if you're a little more timid).
  5. Now place the lamb on top, pour over enough oil to coat the lamb and rub it in with your hands.
  6. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper and rub into the lamb.
  7. Scatter the rest of the rosemary and garlic cloves on top of the lamb.
  8. Cover the roasting tin tightly with aluminium foil (you may need several layers to make sure it's tightly covered), then place on the centre rack of the pre-heated oven.
  9. Immediately turn the heat down to 170°C (325°F) or slightly lower if your oven is fan forced - I cooked mine at 160°C in my fan forced oven.
  10. Cook for four hours.
  11. When the lamb is cooked, remove from the oven, remove the foil, and you will find the large bone simply pulls away clean.
  12. Now, use two forks to separate the meat from the smaller bones, and pile the meat onto a plate - being careful to remove any small bones.
  13. Cover meat and keep warm while you prepare the sauce.
  14. Remove and discard any sprigs of rosemary in the baking tin - (don't worry about the little leaves that have fallen off the sprigs).
  15. Remove the roasted garlic cloves to a plate and let them cool a little.
  16. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of oil, but try to ensure that you leave the cooking liquor in the pan - this is achieved easily with a separating jug OR you can pour the whole lot into a tall glass and allow the oil to rise to the top, pour off the excess oil, and pour the rest back into the pan.
  17. Now, pop the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins, add to the roasting pan and smash up with the back of a wooden spoon.
  18. Place the roasting pan on the stove (I place it over two hobs) over a medium heat.
  19. Stir in 1 tablespoon of flour, then stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, gradually add the chicken stock.
  20. Boil, stirring, for about 5 minutes (this doesn't make a thick gravy, so don't be concerned if it doesn't thicken much).
  21. Now add the finely chopped mint and the red wine vinegar and the capers if using.
  22. Boil briefly and then pour into a jug remember this is more of a sauce than a gravy, so it won't be thick.
  23. Serve the lamb, giving each person about 3-4 tablespoons of the sauce poured over the top of the meat.
Most Helpful

I love the cooking method, moist and tasty. However I prefer lamb with a bolder sauce. I add 2 or 3 onions, halved with the garilc to the pan. After draining fat deglaze pan with 125ml of port and reduce. add 700ml of mix chicken veal stock and reduce 1/2, strain and add vinegar (dash) and mint, knob of butter to finish. It also goes superbly served atop Provence veg (sauted egg plant, courgettes, bay onions plum tomatoes olives and capers) and sauted spuds or rosti

JonathanSG January 10, 2009

I didn't make the sauce, but I followed the cooking method of the lamb to a tee. I am absolutely mind blown. I have never eaten or cooked a lamb roast that has melted in my mouth or fallen completely off the bone like this one did. And there is nothing to it. No pulling it out checking with a skewer if it's cooked, no carving it up at the end making a right mess leaving half the meat still stuck to the bone.. I left it for 4 hours on 160 in my fan forced oven, and when I pulled the foil off the tin, the bone bad basically fallen out of the lamb on its own. Every last bit of meat just fell of every bone in it. I also never leave reviews for anything I cook, but this one deserved it.

Ellen G. June 01, 2015

Fabulous recipe. My family raved over it. I added the juice of 2 lemons to the dish just before placing it in the oven. Can't wait to cook it again

jancorser April 13, 2009