Alex's book of recipes

Slow-roasted lamb shoulder

Tender lamb dish with nice crisp and strong rosemary flavour.


1.8kg lamb shoulder (bone in) or 1.3kg rolled lamb shoulder (bone out)

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 water

2 tbsp flour

1 cup red wine

1 cup water

Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 240°C / 220°C fan.

Rub the lamb with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Use a thin, sharp knife to make 12 deep incisions in the lamb without piercing through the lamb. Stuff bits of rosemary and garlic slivers into the holes.

Place the onion, halved garlic bulb and rosemary in the base of a roasting pan. Place the lamb on top and pour water around.

Cover with lid or tightly with a double layer of foil, place in the oven, and reduce heat to 180°C / 160°C fan. Roast, covered with the foil, for 3h (2h 40m bone out)

Remove foil and if there is no liquid in the pan, add 180ml water. Turn up the oven to 220°C / 200°C fan and roast for a further 20-30m, until the skin is browned and crisp.

Check if the meat is very tender—if not, cover and return to oven at 180°C / 160°C fan until you can do so.

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 20m, up to a couple of hours.

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 30s.

Add the wine and water gradually and stir to combine. Mash the onion and garlic thoroughly.

Simmer for 1-2m until to desired consistency, and remove from the stove. Season to taste with salt and pepper, strain, and serve.