Lusciously Tender & Flavoursome: The Ultimate Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

This slow cooked lamb shoulder with rosemary, garlic and preserved lemon is the perfect easy meal. Tender lamb is slow cooked for 4 hours and then served with crispy, golden potatoes. And you only need around 15 minutes prep for this lamb roast! If you're wondering what to serve at an ANZAC Day lunch then please give this delicious lamb shoulder a try. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader.

Lamb shoulder is my favourite lamb roast because it never dries out and is so lusciously tender and falls off the bone so easily. You can use a leg of lamb and I've given instructions for that below. Preserved lemon paste is a salty, very bright tasting spread that is absolutely perfect for a rich meat like lamb to help counter the intense flavour of lamb. It's used in a lot of Moroccan dishes particularly ones cooked in a tagine. It's also used in Cambodian and Indian cuisine. Lemons are packed in salt and left to pickle in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

This slow roasted lamb shoulder is based on a recipe from my friend Carla. She had just made a lamb roast and I thought that the use of rosemary would be a good idea if anyone was having an ANZAC Day lunch. Rosemary is used a lot in ANZAC Day celebrations as it means remembrance and it also grows in the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey.

Carla has a side hustle business called If And When. She's an New Jersey born but California living expat who moved to Australia a few years ago but maintains her small business of preserved Meyer lemon paste called LoveIfAndWhen (they ship to Australia but shipping is expensive). Many of her customers in Australia are restaurants in Sydney like Mimi's in Coogee as well as Anason and Mayandoz in the city. I love that Carla's preserved lemon paste uses Meyer lemons as they are a sweeter variety of lemon which also makes this perfect for lamb as it really benefits from any additional sweetness (although preserved lemons aren't really what I would call sweet, it just balances the intense saltiness better).

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

I made this lamb shoulder for a late lunch I had with friends. By coincidence, not by design, it was a girl's lunch with Monica, Georgia and Queen Viv coming over. That morning I reminded Mr NQN that everyone was coming over and he expressed concern that Marco would not be coming. On the whole he is a modern guy but there are traditional parts of him and he seems to feel comfortable talking to guys because they talk about things like beer brewing and technology. It's kind of odd but then again most if not all of my friends are women so I can't really criticise it.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

"Do you mind if I sit this one out?" he asked me.

"Yes I do mind. You can slip away after we eat," because I think it's rude and weird if someone just stays in their room while you have guests. It's not like our house is large enough for people not to notice that he's in another room.

As always I cooked too much food. The first course was a spread of antipasti and salads and freshly made puffy bread (a la Totti's) done in the Gozney pizza oven (I'll be sharing that recipe soon I promise!!). Then came this lamb shoulder. It was so easy to make. It takes four hours in the oven with a 20 minute rest so plan your lunch time accordingly. I am anti early mornings so I planned our lunch for 2:30pm. The day before I mixed up the garlic, rosemary and preserved lemon paste and rubbed it all over the roast and placed it in the baking dish and covered it tightly with foil. Then that morning all I needed to do was pop it in the oven covered for 4 hours. In between that I parboiled potatoes and made a simple salad and some toum (fluffy garlic dip).

My friends who are all strong women always make for interesting, spirited conversation. As for Mr NQN he ended up having such a great time talking to everyone that he stayed for the whole meal until everyone left. I like to think that he may have had a great time even without talking technology!

So tell me Dear Reader, are your friends the same gender as you? What are you favourite topics to talk about over lunch?

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott, adapted from If And When

Preparation time: 15 minutes plus overnight marinating time

Cooking time: 4 hours

This recipe is best started the day before

  • 2 - 2.2kg/4.4-4.8lbs lamb shoulder (bone in or boneless, boneless will be lighter)
  • 120g/4ozs preserved lemon paste*
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Needles from 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 cups/500ml/1 pint chicken or beef stock
  • 1kg/2.2lbs potatoes, small, cut in half
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toum to serve

Buyer's tip: If you can't find preserved lemon paste and you have preserved lemon pieces, use the same weight and blend up along with the garlic and rosemary.

You can also use a leg of lamb but be careful to not dry it out. I would use 4 cups of stock if you are making a leg of lamb to keep it moist.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

Step 1 - Score the skin of the lamb shoulder with diagonal cuts around 1cm/0.4inches wide. Blend the garlic cloves and rosemary needles in a food processor and mix with the preserved lemon paste. Rub all over the lamb shoulder (use gloves if you like) on both sides and place in a deep baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Place in the fridge and allow to marinate overnight.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

Step 2 -The next day, four hours and 20 minutes before you want to eat it, take the baking dish out of the fridge and let it sit at temperature while the oven preheats. Preheat oven to 140C/284F fan forced. Add the stock and roast for 2 hours with the foil on tight. After 2 hours remove the foil and add another cup chicken stock if it has evaporated and replace the foil and keep roasting for another 2 hours. A boneless lamb shoulder will take less time to cook and may be done after a total of 2-3 hours cooking.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

Step 3 -Parboil the potatoes until they are starting to get tender and toss in olive oil and place on a baking tray cut side down. Remove lamb from the oven and increase oven temperature to 200C/400F fan forced. Roast potatoes for 20 minutes while the lamb rests with the foil on loosely tented on it. Then season the golden potatoes with salt and pepper and then add them to the pan and toss in the pan juices. I also brush some of the sticky pan juices onto the lamb. Serve the lamb and potatoes with lemon wedges and rosemary. I add a little salt and pepper but you won't need much salt as the preserved lemon is salty.

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