Recipe: 6 hour slow-roast spiced lamb

I am very much in favour of the ‘low and slow’ cooking method. You get maximum flavour with minimum stress. You just have to be patient whilst the cooking happens and be prepared to be tormented by the tempting aromas from the kitchen.

I decided to slow roast a lamb shoulder, which would be marinated overnight in fragrant spices, including cumin, fennel, coriander and paprika. As the shoulder is a fatty cut it works well in slow cooking, as the fat keeps the meat moist.

I went to John Crawshaw’s butchers in Hillsborough and purchased half a shoulder of lamb (on the bone). This was a decent sized joint and cost just under £9, my plan was to cook too much for one sitting so we had leftovers for an easy dinner on another day.

I did the marinating on Saturday and so on the Sunday I got the meat out of the fridge ready for cooking, After a quick blast at a high heat, I then turned down the temperature and left the lamb to slow roast for 6 hours. You can pretty much forget about it, aside from basting the meat a couple of times.

After the lamb had rested I was able to pull the meat easily off the bone with a fork. It was rich, succulent and full of flavour.

I made a few accompanying side dishes to make up a meze style dinner.

We got hands-on and stuffed a tortilla with a heap of shredded lamb, red cabbage, onion, yoghurt and a dollop of the harrisa sauce. This was then wrapped, gripped well and eaten with much enjoyment. Napkins are recommended… Sorry there are no pictures, I had my hands full.

Slow-roast spiced Lamb 

Ingredients (serves 4 generously)

½ Shoulder of Lamb (preferably bone in)
1 onion, peeled and quartered

For the marinade:

1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon peppercorns
half a cinnamon stick
2 garlic cloves
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt


Dry fry the peppercorns, cinnamon, fennel, cumin and coriander seeds for 20-30 seconds in a frying pan to give them a nice toasty flavour.

Add all of the marinade ingredients into a mortar and give them a good bashing with a pestle until you have a paste, or you can use a blender.

Place the lamb in a roasting dish and score the meat several times (about 1/2cm depth). Rub the marinade all over the meat making sure you massage it in well.

Cover and leave the meat to marinade overnight in the fridge or for at least 4 hours.

When you are ready to cook, get the lamb to room temperature and pre-heat the oven to 200C.

Roast the lamb for 20 minutes and then drop the temperature to 130C, add 300ml water to the roasting dish (pour around the lamb).

Add in the onion and leave the meat to cook for 6 hours. (I basted my meat a couple of times during this cooking period but that is optional).

Leave the lamb to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

The meat by this stage should come away from the bone with a slight prod from a fork. No formal carving is required; I pulled the lamb off the bone and served it rustic style piled high on a plate.

Other slow-roast recipes

– Slow-roasted Rogan Josh Lamb

– Slow-roasted Lamb with cumin, thyme and garlic

– Perfect Pork & Crackling

– Southern Barbecued Belly Pork