My slow roast lamb is possibly one of my favourite meals of all time. The lamb is sweet, fragrant, and beautifully textured. It is melt-in-the-mouth tender with a succulently chewy skin (bark). It’s the simples, and most rewarding roast meats and I have yet to find any other way of doing this that tastes any better. It’s simply decadence in simplicity.
We love slow roast lamb so much in our family that we chose it as our meat for our wedding day menu – our caterers did an amazing job, and we still get loads of compliments on our wedding food.
I have been making my slow roast lamb like this for years and it never fails to impress. So if you are a fan of lamb, you have to try this!
I choose a shoulder joint rather than a leg because the shoulder has the lines of fat running through it that, when cooking slowly in the oven for hours, will melt and lubricate the meat. The result is lamb that is super succulent and tender. So, so tender. So tender in fact that the shoulder bone can be pulled clean out from the meat. The meat itself practically crumbles.
The outside of the slow roast lamb kind of caramelises and forms are tougher, chewy skin. It’s full of flavour from the marinade and makes for a welcome contrast to the moist meat. It’s unbelievably delectable.
I usually cook a couple of lamb shoulder joints at once, I use some of the meat for a Sunday Roast Dinner with my family. The rest of it I save for a leftovers meal such as Shepherd’s Pie, Curry, a fresh salad in the summer, or my favourite … leftover sandwich complete with cold stuffing and mayo.
I prefer to get my lamb shoulder from my local organic butcher, the quality is so much better with more a marble effect of the fat running through the meat. Generally I use a 1.75 – 2kg shoulder to feed around 4-6 people. Adjust the cooking time according to the size of the meat.
And I cannot recommend enough using the shoulder of lamb rather than the lamb, it’s 100% my top choice of cut for slow roasting (but if you do only have a leg of lamb, perhaps consider pot roasting it on a slow cooking basis. The extra liquid will help keep the moisture in the meat). Lamb shoulder is often overlooked as a joint, with many reaching for the leg of lamb, but give the shoulder a go in the slow roast fashion, and you will be pleasantly surprised!
1. Remove the lamb shoulder from the fridge at least an hour before cooking, if possible. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan).
2. In a small bowl mix together the garlic puree and chilli flakes. Pop the lamb onto a large baking tray and spread the mixture all over the meat.
3. Place the lamb in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes lower the temperature of the oven to 130C (fan). Allow to slow cook for at least 4 or 5 hours, 6 is usually the best length of time for a 1.5-2kg joint. Be sure to baste the joint once an hour.
5. Remove the lamb from the oven, cover loosely with foil and allow it to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes.
6. To carve the joint use a sharp knife to loosen the thick skin (aka the bark) particularly around the bone. The meat should then easily come away from the bone. Either slice into thick chunks or use a large carving fork to shred the meat apart.
7. Serve immediately with your roast dinner trimmings, or allow to cool to use in other dishes such as shepherds pie, curry or a leftovers sandwich.
TOP TIP #1 – Use your favourite spices to create your own unique marinade for the slow roast lamb shoulder. Great spices for this meat include cumin, thyme, rosemary, paprika, cumin seeds, whole garlic (pierce the lamb with a sharp knife and pop slithers of garlic cloves straight in), black pepper, fennel seeds, coriander.
TOP TIP #2 – If you prefer not to have the chewy skin/bark, simply cover the roasting tin loosely with foil for the slow roasting process.
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