Slow-roasted lamb shoulder

Every summer I spend a few weeks at my sister’s house in Brittany, and I come back every time with a new culinary obsession inspired by countless hours spent around the kitchen with my family cooking, eating, and talking about food. One year my preoccupation was yogurt, another time marinated olives, and this year it is slow-roasted lamb. There simply is no better way to cook – or eat – lamb. It’s completely stress-free and utterly delicious.

This is an approximate recreation of my sister’s succulent lamb shoulder. The gist of the recipe is to rub the lamb with herbs and garlic and let it cook for hours in a very low oven.


The quantities below are for a piece of meat of approximately 6 lbs (3 kg). The seasoning should be adjusted according to size, but the cooking time remains the same.

2 generous sprigs each of sage, rosemary, thyme, summer savory

1 Tbsp coriander seeds

2 Tbsps coarse gray sea salt

6 garlic cloves

Black pepper

Olive oil

1 bone-in lamb shoulder


Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

Finely chop the herbs. In a mortar, coarsely grind the coriander seeds and set aside. Next grind together the salt and garlic cloves. Mix in the herbs, coriander, and a generous amount of black pepper. Finally, drizzle 3-4 tablespoons olive oil to make a coarse paste.

Trim the fat from the lamb and rub with the herb paste on all sides. Place the lamb shoulder in a large cast-iron pot.* Put the lamb in the oven and let roast at a high temperature for 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to 300°F (150°C), seal the pot with a tight-fitting lid (or with aluminum foil if using a roasting tray), and forget the lamb in the oven for 3 or 4 hours.

The meat will fall off the bone, and it will be even more delicious reheated the next day.

*Another option is to use a roasting pan tightly sealed with aluminum foil, though the result is not quite as satisfying as the meat does not seem to brown in the same way.

Tags: ,

12 Responses to “Slow-roasted lamb shoulder”

  1. Mike Says:

    This was pretty great last night. (and I’m hoping will be again tonight :-)
    Thanks much for the inspiration.

    • valerie Says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad it worked out. And I’m guessing it will be even better tonight.

  2. mariya Says:

    Slow roasted lamb is also very good with marinated anchovy. You simply make small slits in the lamb and stuff the anchovies in. They melt into the flesh during the roasting. Delicious.

    • valerie Says:

      Yes, delicious! I did that the other day, too. I made a rub with anchovies, garlic, and sage. The riffs are endless using different spices and herbs, but I also love the pairing of lamb and anchovies!

  3. Loucinda Says:

    Succulently foolproof …. a real gem of a recipe !
    I never seem to have the “right “pots and pans so I was grateful to have the “alternative ” suggestion … and it worked a treat !

  4. Owen Gleiberman Says:

    Lovely recipe. I will try it this fall.

  5. Laurent Says:

    Definitely one of this summer’s culinary highlights.
    Just remembering it – yum.

  6. Karen Says:

    This is so delicious, Valérie, that we made the recipe again after you left!

  7. Gormanmcadams Says:

    Fantastic recipe. We’ve done this a few times before and roasted the lamb for 24 hours. Slow cooking is so easy.

    • valerie Says:

      Thank you. I must admit I am somewhat of a slow-cooking novice, but I am now hooked and can’t wait to try a version with garlic and anchovies…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: