12-hour lamb shoulder

12-hour lamb shoulder

Elisa Watson

This is a foolproof dish for even the most nervous cooks and makes for a wonderful dinner when you just want to put something in the oven and forget about it – all the preparation is done the day before. You should end up with meat that is tasty, succulent and tender. Cut through the richness of the lamb by serving it with some chargrilled broccolini with green tahini. Ras el hanout is a North African spice mix.


Quantity Ingredient
2.5kg lamb shoulder, semi-boned
2 tablespoons sea salt
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium carrots, cut in half crossways
1 fennel bulb, quartered
1 garlic bulb, halved
1 red onion, peeled and cut in half lengthways
1 preserved lemon, halved
135g honey
500ml chicken stock
Chargrilled broccolini with green tahini, to serve

Ras el hanout

Quantity Ingredient
60g cumin seeds
20g coriander seeds
1 tabelspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon chilli flakes
5 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
nutmeg, freshly grated, a pinch


  1. To make the ras el hanout, toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a frying pan over medium heat until fragrant. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind them finely, then grind the black peppercorns. Mix the ground spices with the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Place the lamb shoulder in a large roasting tin, at least 5 cm deep. Rub the salt and oil over the lamb and massage in 50 g of the ras el hanout.
  3. Distribute the vegetables, garlic, onion and preserved lemon under and around the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove the meat from the fridge at least 1 hour before you want to cook it (roughly 12 hours before you want to eat it).
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  5. Smear the meat with half the honey, reserving the rest. Add the stock to the roasting tray and seal with a double layer of foil.
  6. Roast the shoulder in the oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 100°C and slow-roast for a further 10–12 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone.
  7. Remove the lamb from the oven and leave to cool a little before straining the pan juices into a saucepan. Reserve the roasted vegetables to serve with the lamb or discard.
  8. Once the pan juices have cooled, skim off any fat from the surface and place the saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining honey and boil for about 10–15 minutes, or until slightly reduced.
  9. Pour the jus over the lamb and return the tray to the oven uncovered for 15 minutes, until a slight crust forms and the lamb is warm. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly.
  10. Pile the roasted vegetables, if using, onto a serving platter and place the lamb on top. Drizzle with the sauce and serve with the chargrilled broccolini.
Jewish cooking
Chicken soup
Yom kippur
Dinner party
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