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Neil Davey -

Food laid out on plates

Recipe Information

Title: Slow Roast Shoulder of Lamb



Cook time: 4 hours

Total time: 5 hours

Serves: 4

Lamb Ingredients

For the shoulder of lamb - best prepared a day or two ahead.

  • One shoulder of lamb - bone in, bone out, whatever you prefer. As for the size? How many are you feeding? Do you like leftovers? Shredded bits of slow-roasted lamb are one of the best things to have in the freezer at any given moment, as they defrost quickly and are terribly versatile.
  • Garlic - several bulbs, peeled and cut into decent slivers
  • Rosemary - several sprigs
  • Lemon Thyme - might as well get that lemon flavour going now, right?
  • (I'd also usually add anchovies - say, half a dozen, chopped into 1cm pieces - but forgot to pick them up this time.)

Lamb Instructions

Pre-heat oven to the highest setting. With a small sharp knife, take out all your frustrations on the fatty side of the lamb shoulder and stab several holes in it, all over (but be careful if you've got a bone-in piece because it hurts when you stab in the wrong place). Take your sprigs of rosemary and lemon thyme, your chunks of garlic and your slivers of anchovy (if you've got them) and stuff the holes with all of these / a few / whatever you can fit. Rub a little olive oil all over the lamb, season generously with salt and black pepper. Stick it in a roasting tin - if you've still got lemon thyme and rosemary, lay the lamb on more sprigs of these - cover it with tin foil making sure everything is properly sealed, and then put it in the oven. As soon as it goes in, turn the oven down to 170 degrees C / 325 degrees F / gas mark 3 and set the alarm for at least four hours.

After four hours, remove from the oven and check how it's looking. By this point, much of the fat should have melted away and you'll be able to pull the lamb apart easily with a fork or your fingers. Shred it into reasonable chunks and strands, put a fist sized portion aside per person and freeze the rest.

Main Ragu Ingredients (serves approximately four)

  • Lemon zest
  • Four fistfuls of shredded lamb shoulder
  • One onion
  • Garlic - one, two, more cloves depending on your taste, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • 12 tomatoes (quartered) or 20+ cherry tomatoes (halved). You could use tinned, of course, but I prefer the real thing.
  • Broad beans - fresh or from frozen (or, indeed, peas)
  • Mint - chopped leaves, about 2 tbsp
  • Parsley - optional, about 1 tbsp if you fancy it though
  • Capers - chopped, 1-2 tbsp depending on taste
  • Pasta - I particularly like pappardelle for something like this, lots of surface area and relatively easy to eat in a garden chair using just a fork.
  • Parmesan Cheese


In a saucepan, heat a little oil and then add the diced onion. Sweat it down for a few minutes - low heat, a pinch of salt, small saucepan lid over the onion works a treat - then add the garlic and your tomatoes. Let the tomatoes warm through so that they start to pop. As the liquid fills the pan, add the meat and warm it all through, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.

You can, if you want, grate or peel the tomatoes but I quite like the texture of those little rolls of skin in the finished dish.

If you're adding broad beans, steam them separately for no more than three minutes or until the outer "jacket" on some start to peel away of their own accord. Pod them straight away - trust me, it's SO much easier to do this when they're still warm. Do keep the little outer jackets though: chopped up and sauté ed with garlic and butter or added to a curry, they're absolutely delicious.

While you're at it, boil the pasta in accordance with the packet instructions. Add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water to the ragu, but drain the rest. Toss with a little butter and salt and pepper.

Add the capers to the ragu so that they warm through. (If you're using frozen peas, add to the ragu now so that they cook through.)

Toss the cooked, buttered pasta into the ragu and stir so that the strands are well coated. Add the broad beans at this point, the mint (and the parsley, if using). Stir through gently. Serve in bowls, sprinkle with a little lemon zest and some grated parmesan (and more mint and capers to taste) and a generous grind of salt and pepper. Pour large glass of Moss Wood Amy's Blend. Hope for good weather...