Classic Slow-roasted Shoulder of Lamb with Garden Herbs and Garlic

Cooking a shoulder of lamb doesn’t get more straightforward than this recipe. It’s exactly the same principles as roasting a leg, only you cook it for longer…hence the title! Shoulder of lamb is far cheaper to buy than leg.  A rough guideline is shoulder is generally about £7–10 cheaper per kilo, so a huge saving. If I’m being totally honest, I would say that shoulder is a far superior cut of meat than the leg. The flavour from all the fat gives the meat an unbelievable richness and keeps it moist during cooking. The meat will fall off the bone in lovely big chucks and the top layer of fat will be perfectly crisp and golden brown. It’s almost impossible to get wrong. To top it all off, if you buy a big enough shoulder, you can shred up any meat that’s left over and throw together from Shepherd’s Pie to a batch of Lamb Pasties or quick Lamb Naan Bread Pizza the next day.

The world is your oyster when it comes to serving suggestions. Lentils, roasted new potatoes, greens, Mediterranean vegetables, take your pick.

Preparation 10 minutes

Cooking 5-6 hours

Serves 4

8 large sprigs of rosemary

6–8 bay leaves

2 heads of garlic, cut in half across the equator

1 shoulder of lamb, bone in, weighing approx. 2–2.5kg

400mls white wine

4 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

For the sauce

250mls white wine

500mls water

12 tbsp flour

1 tbsp red current jelly

1. Preheat the oven to 130oc. Lay the rosemary and bay leaves on the bottom of a deep roasting tray along with the garlic. Make sure the garlic is cut-side up so it can soak up all the lamb juices while it cooks.

2. Take the shoulder of lamb and score the fat with a sharp knife about 5 or 6 times – this will help the fat to render and melt while the lamb cooks and will keep the meat nice and moist. Rub the shoulder all over with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay the lamb on top of the herbs, fatty side up and pour in the wine. Wrap the tray tightly in tin foil and place into the preheated oven. Leave to cook for 5-5.5 hours. Check the lamb once or twice. Add a little more liquid if it’s looking a bit dry. The lamb is cooked when it is falling apart. Remove the foil and turn the jar up in the oven to 200oc. Allow the skin to brown and crisp for a further 30 minutes. – relive from the oven. You shouldn’t even need a knife to carve your lamb.

3. Strain off any fat from the roasting dish. Squish the garlic into the remaining juices using the back of a folk. Remove the lamb and leave it to rest in a warm plate. Place the roasting tray onto the hob and turn the heat on low. Add the plain flour and mix into the juices. Now pour in the white wine and water. Whisk well and remove any burnt on bits from the bottom of the tray. Add a spoonful of red current jelly, season, reduce a little and strain. Serve the gravy with the lamb and your choice of accompaniment. I’d go for lyonnaise potatoes and kale.

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