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How to Cook Bone in Lamb Shoulder


Method 1: Slow Roasting

Preparation: Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F). Rub the lamb shoulder with olive oil, salt, and pepper. If you like, insert slivers of garlic and sprigs of rosemary into small incisions in the meat.

Roasting: Place the seasoned lamb shoulder into a roasting tray and cover with aluminium foil. Roast for about 4-5 hours, depending on the size of the cut. The meat should become tender enough to pull apart easily.

Finishing: For a crispy exterior, remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to 220°C (430°F). Roast for an additional 20-30 minutes.

Method 2: Braising

Preparation: Season the lamb shoulder as above and sear all sides in a hot pan to lock in the flavours.

Braising: Transfer the lamb into a casserole and add a braising liquid like red wine, beef stock, or a mixture of both. Throw in some aromatic vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery. Cover and cook at 160°C (320°F) for about 4 hours.

Finishing: Remove the lid and cook for an additional 30 minutes to reduce the liquid and caramelise the meat's exterior.

Method 3: Pressure Cooking

Preparation: Season and sear the lamb shoulder as per the earlier methods.

Pressure Cooking: Place the lamb shoulder into the pressure cooker along with your choice of liquid and aromatics. Seal the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for about 1.5 hours.

Finishing: Release the pressure according to the manufacturer's instructions and serve.

Here's a list of some options that complement the rich, earthy flavour of lamb:


Roasted Root Vegetables: Carrots, parsnips, and beetroots bring a natural sweetness that balances the rich meat.

Minted Peas: The freshness of mint cuts through the fatty richness of the lamb.

Grilled Asparagus: Adds a smoky yet fresh element.


Dauphinoise Potatoes: Creamy and indulgent, these potatoes feel right at home next to lamb.

Couscous: Especially good if you've seasoned your lamb with Middle Eastern or North African spices.

Polenta: For a more rustic feel, a creamy polenta can absorb the meat juices wonderfully.

Sauces and Relishes:

Mint Sauce or Jelly: A British classic that elevates lamb to new heights.

Red Wine Jus: Adds depth and a touch of elegance.

Tzatziki: For a lighter, fresher contrast.


Baklava: If you’re leaning towards a Middle Eastern spiced lamb, continue the theme with a honey and nut baklava.

Eton Mess: A light and fruity dessert can offer a sweet and refreshing contrast to a rich meal.

Here are some stellar accompaniments that will lift your lamb dish:


Rosemary: An iconic pairing, the piney, woody aroma complements the lamb’s flavour beautifully.

Mint: Fresh or in the form of a sauce, mint is a classic British accompaniment to lamb.

Thyme: Its subtle earthiness works well with the natural richness of lamb.


Garlic: A few cloves of garlic, whole, minced, or even as a paste, can add depth and zest.

Cumin: Provides a warm and slightly nutty undertone.

Paprika: For a subtle kick and a beautiful colour.


Apricots: Whether dried or in the form of a glaze, apricots offer a fruity contrast.

Lemon: Lemon zest or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice can cut through the richness of the meat.

Pomegranate: As seeds or molasses, pomegranate can offer a tart, fruity balance.


Onions: Caramelised or roasted, onions add sweetness and complexity.

Fennel: Provides a licorice-like note and crispy texture when roasted.

Tomatoes: Fresh, sun-dried, or as a sauce, tomatoes add acidity and sweetness.


Yoghurt: Useful as a marinade or in sauces like tzatziki.

Feta Cheese: Crumbled over the top or as part of a side dish, the saltiness of feta complements lamb well.

Nuts and Seeds:

Pine Nuts: Toasted and sprinkled over, they add crunch and nuttiness.

Sesame Seeds: Especially if you’re going for an Asian or Middle Eastern theme.

Condiments and Sauces:

Olive Oil: Ideal for marinades or drizzling over before roasting.

Balsamic Reduction: A drizzle can add a sweet and tangy element.

Harissa: For those who enjoy a bit of heat.

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Bone-in lamb shoulder
Olive oil
Fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme
Garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
Additional seasonings like mustard, paprika, or cumin, as per taste

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Hot Tips

Carving: Make sure to carve against the grain for the most tender eating experience.

Presentation: Consider garnishing with fresh herbs or lemon wedges for visual appeal and a burst of fresh flavour.


Wine Pairings:

  • Red Bordeaux: A classic choice, Bordeaux wines with their firm tannins and notes of black currant provide a harmonious balance to the richness of the lamb.
  • Rioja: The spicy undertones and vanilla notes of a Spanish Rioja can enhance the lamb’s own flavour profile.
  • Shiraz/Syrah: These wines, known for their peppery and smoky qualities, can add an extra layer of complexity to your meal.
  • Pinot Noir: If you're looking for a lighter option, a fruity yet structured Pinot Noir can complement lamb without overwhelming it.

Beer Pairings:

  • IPA (Indian Pale Ale): The bitterness of an IPA can cut through the fatty richness of lamb, providing a palate-cleansing effect.
  • Stout or Porter: The dark, malty flavours of these beers can complement the smoky and earthy notes in a roasted or grilled lamb shoulder.
  • Belgian Dubbel: Its rich, malty sweetness and notes of dark fruit can provide a nice counterpoint to lamb’s robust flavour.


  • Scotch Whisky: A peaty Scotch can pair wonderfully, mirroring the smokiness of the meat.
  • Bourbon: The sweetness of bourbon can balance the saltiness of the lamb, especially if you've used a sweet glaze or sauce.

Non-Alcoholic Options:

  • Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer: The spiciness of ginger can enhance the lamb’s flavours, while the carbonation helps refresh the palate.
  • Pomegranate Juice: The tartness and fruitiness can provide a nice contrast to the meat’s richness.
  • Mint Iced Tea: For a refreshing twist, the mint can echo classic lamb seasonings and offer a palate cleanser.