Wednesday 14 October 2009

Garlicky Roast Lamb Shoulder with Herbs

Lamb is simply my ultimate favourite when it comes to English Sunday roasts- more moist and succulent than traditional beef (recipe here if you prefer it), and definitely far superior in natural flavour than pork or poultry.

Whilst a whole leg used to be my cut of choice, I recently discovered that lamb shoulder is not only cheaper but a provider of sweeter, more tender meat, probably due to the fact that it is a more gelatinous joint which a higher proportion of fat layered between its flesh. Try and choose a piece that isn't too fatty (it's no fun chewing on forkfuls of white stuff) and make sure you use a wire rack so that all the grease can drip off (to be used later as part of the gravy, or to bake the Yorkshire Puddings).

Whichever cut you use, as with any roast the trimmings and sides are just as important as the meat itself so be sure to serve this with lots of rich gravy, roast potatoes/parsnips/carrots (or buttered/mashed/baked if you prefer), something green like broccoli or beans or cabbage and most importantly, the aforementioned Yorkshire puds to soak it all up.

Garlicky Roast Lamb Shoulder with Herbs (serves 6)
*Recipe based on a 2kg shoulder joint on the bone, cooked to a juicy pink medium. Vary your cooking times accordingly*

*Marinate your joint a few hours or even the night before if you have time

Place the lamb on a wire rack over a foil-lined roasting tray and make little but deep incisions all over both sides of the meat with a small pointed knife. Smash 3-4 large cloves of garlic (or however much you want) very well until it can be stripped into pulpy slivers, then stuff into each slit. Make sure to tuck garlic under any layer of fat or crevice in the meat as well, so that the meat is nicely garlicky all over.

Rub both sides of the meat with the following:
Light drizzle of olive oil (not too much as the joint already has its own fat)
Good splash of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
Lots of salt (I use crumbled sea salt flakes with rosemary but any salt is fine)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Generous sprinkle of mixed dried herbs (I like a good mix of thyme, marjoram, parsley, oregano, rosemary, sage and/or basil, gives a far more complex flavour than just one herb alone)

Preheat oven to 230 C/445 F (210 C/410 F fan-assisted). Pour a bit of water into the roasting pan under the rack (so that the meat stays moist), cover the entire tray in foil and roast for 20 minutes at this temperature. Lower heat to 200 C/395 F (180 C/350 F fan-assisted) and continue to cook about 15 minutes for every 500g, then take the foil off and let it roast a further 15 minutes uncovered (so my 2kg joint took about 1 hour 35 minutes in total). There is no need to baste while roasting- the shoulder is fatty enough to baste itself.

Remove the lamb from the oven, wrap it in foil and let it rest at room temperature for 20-30 mins. This is MUST so the inside of the joint can turn more succulent cooking in the residual heat. (I usually make my Yorkshire Puddings at this point so everything is ready to eat at the same time).

Once rested, carve and enjoy! :)


Pour all the juices from the roasting tin into a pot, adding some water if required. Chuck in a few spoonfuls of gravy granules, some milk or a dollop of cream to thicken and bring to boil.


  1. Tried this recipe - its really good! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  2. You're very welcome, glad it worked out :)


  3. Googled a recipe for lamb shoulder and found yours. Glad I did, it was superb with roast potatoes and roast vegetables, esp liked the worcester sauce touch. I will be trying more of your recipes, next Beef Rendang I think, one of my favourites.

  4. thanks Ian, glad it worked out well!:)


  5. This will be my first attempt at cooking lamb shoulder. Your recipe should great. You mention that it would be good if one marinates the lamb first. What do you use for the marinade? Thank you.

    1. The marinade is everything that's listed, ie garlic, Worcestershire sauce etc :)

  6. I watched this recipe video and it looks awesome. This will be my first effort to cook a lamb shoulder. Your plans are incredible.