This slow cooked lamb shoulder will be the juiciest, most incredible lamb roast you have ever had! I would take lamb shoulder over lamb leg any day. It is tastier, cheaper and EASIER to roast lamb shoulder than lamb leg – I swear!
Virtually foolproof, minimal effort, and incredible meat that is so tender that you won’t need a knife to carve this. And an EXTRA flavour packed gravy!
A Sunday Night Roast family gathering is always an event in my family. There is something grand about a roast lamb taking pride of place in the centre of a dinner table. Being born into a foodie family, there is always a flurry of emails leading up to a Sunday Night Roast. It usually goes something like this:
My brother (the “serious” foodie): Let’s do a standing rib roast. 36 month dry aged from Victor Churchill (PS A gourmet expensive butcher in Sydney!)
Me: That’s ridiculous. It will cost $100!
Brother: If we’re gonna do a roast, we should do it right. I’m not doing a lamb leg from Coles!
Me: Who said you’re cooking? I’M the Roast Queen, remember?
Brother: Self proclaimed titles carry no weight.
Me: How about a slow cooked lamb shoulder?
Brother: OK. That’ll do. I’ll do the sides.
Sister: I don’t mind. Just tell me what I need to do.
Mum: Send me a shopping list.
And thus the roles and responsibilities for a Sunday Night Roast are set.
I was introduced to slow cooked lamb shoulder by Jamie Oliver, perhaps a decade ago. Before then, I used to deal with the stress of perfectly roasted lamb legs. Timing is critical to make a lamb leg that is perfectly cooked on the inside, still a bit pink so it’s nice and juicy but with a gorgeous brown crust. Even with a meat thermometer, I found myself holding my breath when the carving began.
On the other hand, slow cooked lamb shoulder is stress free. Because it is a fattier cut of meat and it is slow roasted, it is very forgiving so if you roast it for longer than the exact prescribed time, it’s still going to be gloriously juicy.
Plus, it’s CHEAPER! And TASTIER!
I love using the technique of stuffing rosemary and garlic into incisions to infuse the meat with flavour. You can really only do this with rosemary because the sprigs are stiff enough to stick into the holes. And also it works well for this dish because it is slow roasted – the flavours do not infuse as well into the meat with a traditional roast that only takes 1 1/2 hours or so. So take advantage of it in this recipe!
OK, signing off! Love to hear if this makes it to your Sunday Night family dinner!
PS Eeerm….I was rather distracted when I was taking the photos of this slow cooked lamb shoulder, trying to keep an eye on two naughty dogs that kept getting in the way while I was photographing it. They aren’t so pesky when I’m photographing salads! As a result, I forgot to put the carrots in the photo. The carrots aren’t browned because they are roasted under the meat. But because of that, they are basted with the juices and the slow cooking makes them really soft and creamy, while still holding their shape. Super yum!
PPS I am not sure that roast potatoes are an optional side for roast lamb….I think they are a must! What about trying my Truly Crunchy Roast Potatoes? I truly mean it – they are truly crunchy!
- 3.5 lb / 1.8kg lamb shoulder (bone in) (Note 1)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 onions, peeled and quartered (brown, yellow or white)
- 2 carrots, cut into 4 chunks
- 1 head + 3 cloves of garlic, broken up into separate cloves
- 8 sprigs rosemary
- 1/2 cup / 125ml water
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups / 500 ml chicken stock (or 1 cup red wine + 1 cup water)
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 220C/425F (fan forced/convection) / 240C/465F (standard).
Rub the lamb with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
Use a thin, sharp knife to make 12 incisions in the lamb, deep as you can but without piercing through the bottom of the lamb. (See photo below)
Peel and quarter 4 cloves of garlic (vertically) and stuff them into the holes (a chopstick helps!).
Cut 3 or 4 sprigs of rosemary into 3"/7.5cm pieces (12 in total) and stuff them into the holes.
Place the onions, carrot, remaining garlic cloves and rosemary in the base of a roasting pan. Place the lamb on top of this bed of vegetables.
Cover with lid or tightly with a double layer of foil. Place in the oven, and TURN DOWN to 160C/320F (fan forced / convection) or 180C/350F (standard).
Roast, covered, for 3 hours. Then remove the lid, add 1/2 cup of water into the roasting pan, turn up the oven to 220C/425F and roast for a further 20 to 30 minutes, until the skin is browned and crisp. By now, you should be able to part the meat with two forks.
Remove lamb and carrots from the roasting pan and transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with foil then a couple of tea towels and let it rest for at least 20 minutes, up to a couple of hours (after this, you may want to reheat).
Tilt the pan and use a spoon to remove all but around 2 tbsp of fat (try to avoid scooping out any juices).
Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium high heat. Use a potato masher to mash the onion and garlic, making sure that all the garlic squeezes out of the skin. Remove and discard onion, garlic skins and rosemary from the pan.
Add the flour and stir to mix in with the fat. Cook for 30 seconds.
Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Use a potato masher to mash garlic more if needed. Allow it to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until it is just before your desired consistency (it will thicken a bit as it cools), then remove from the stove. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the lamb with the carrots and gravy on the side and Truly Crunchy Roast Potatoes.
1. This method of slow roasting is not suitable for lamb leg. It must be made using lamb shoulder which is a tougher and fattier cut of meat.
2. You'll need to adjust the cooking time for larger pieces of meat. As a guide, add about 40 minutes for each extra 2 lb/1 kg.
3. If you are making the Truly Crunchy Roast Potatoes, place the pan with oil in it in the shelf beneath the roast at step 8 i.e. when the lamb is being browned. Refer to separate recipe for full instructions.
Save this Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder to your “Roasts” Pinterest Board!
And let’s be friends on Pinterest so you can see all the delicious recipes I’m pinning!
Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder nutrition per serving. This does not take into account the fat discarded before making the gravy and also assumes that all the gravy is used.
MORE ROAST LAMB
Slow Cooker Roast Lamb Leg with Gravy – The most succulent lamb leg you’ll ever have!
Classic Roast Lamb – Perfectly pink and juicy inside, with a killer gravy!
Slow Cooked Greek Lamb Leg – The garlic and lemon flavour in this is incredible!