This slow cooked lamb shoulder will be the juiciest, most incredible lamb roast you have ever had! Lamb shoulder has more flavour and is easier to cook than lamb leg. Virtually foolproof, minimal effort, and incredible meat that is so tender that you won’t need a knife to carve this, served with a flavour packed gravy!
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. 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.
Lamb shoulder is not as popular as lamb leg – and I truly do not understand why. It has more flavour and it’s far juicier. The only “downside” I can think of is that it needs to be slow cooked, it can’t be cooked hard and fast like a classic Roast Lamb Leg that’s cooked until perfectly pink and juicy inside.
On the other hand, because lamb shoulder is a juicier cut, it’s incredibly forgiving so if it’s in the oven for too long, it’s still going to be gloriously juicy.
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 recipe 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! – Nagi x
MORE ROAST LAMB
- 3.5 lb / 1.8kg lamb shoulder (bone in) (Note 1)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 onion, quartered (no need to peel)
- 1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
- 3 garlic cloves, cut into slivers
- 8 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup / 250ml water
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups / 500 ml beef broth (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 in post and video
Stuff bits of rosemary and garlic slivers into the holes (chopstick helpful!)
Place the onion, halved garlic bulb and rosemary in the base of a roasting pan. Place the lamb on top. Pour water around.
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. Remove foil, 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 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). Serve with gravy.
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. Add the flour and stir to mix in with the fat. Cook for 30 seconds.
Add the stock gradually and stir to combine. Use a potato masher to mash the onion and garlic, making sure that all the garlic squeezes out of the skin.
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, strain into bowl being sure to squeeze all juices out of garlic etc, then transfer into gravy jug.
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 30 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.
4. Servings - a 1.5kg/3lb lamb shoulder yields about 700g/1.4lb of meat once cooked. This is because the meat shrinks while cooking, there's a giant bone running through the middle and a thick layer of fat on the surface that mostly melts. I find that a shoulder of that size serves about 4 people. Maybe 5 (not in my family!).
5. 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.
Originally published February 2015, updated with new photos, new commentary and video - AND Life of Dozer added!
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
Hmm. Not surprising he’s interested in what’s going on here….