British Lamb Week- Slow-roasted spiced shoulder of lamb

Posted on

3rd September 2015

Lamb is without doubt my absolute favourite meat. If I had a choice of roast, I would always choose a leg of lamb; cooked beautifully pink with lashings of mint sauce, roasties and carrots. That is Sunday lunch heaven if you ask me.

Some of you will already know that I am a Bengali-Welsh-Essex girl. With my Bengali heritage, red meat curries would usually be made with goat or beef. But when my parents moved to Wales, lamb was the obvious substitute that my mum turned to and so it was lamb that I remember having as a child. My mum’s lamb bhuna, made with the underrated neck fillet which has in my opinion the best  ratio of fat marbling required for curries or slow-cooked stews, was without doubt my favourite dish that she cooked. It was always the dish I requested on birthdays or when I was visiting my parents house after I had flown the nest.

I am always looking to develop new recipes, and to celebrate British Lamb Week I wanted to combine the two cultures by making the best spiced roast lamb I could. This is a slow-roasted dish and so the shoulder was the cut of choice. Follow the recipe below.


1 shoulder of lamb

For the spicy marinade / wet rub

1 red onion

1 whole scotch bonnet pepper (seeds and all)

2 small green chillies

6 fat cloves of garlic, peeled

3 cm piece of ginger, peeled

a large 100gm bunch of fresh coriander (stalks and all)

a small bunch of fresh mint (leaves picked)

the juice of 1 large lemon

1 teaspoon of sea salt

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

2 teaspoons of coriander seeds


  1. Make sure each ingredient for the marinade is roughly chopped before you put in the blender or you will have a job to get the requisite paste and you might break your blender! Whizz the whole lot together until you have a rough paste.
  2. In a dry frying pan, lightly toast 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds and 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds and whizz them (or use a pestle and mortar) to a powder too. Finally mix the whole lot together in a bowl.
  3. Prepare the lamb shoulder by using a small sharp knife to make lots of incisions, at least 1 cm across all over the joint, top and bottom. Finally (and I would recommend wearing gloves for this) massage the paste into the lamb really well until it is all used up and the lamb is completely coated.
  4. Place the joint in a deep roasting dish, cover with a tent of foil and place into a pre-heated oven at 200ºC for 30 minutes.
  5. After this time, reduce the heat to around 170ºC, put a cupful of water in the bottom of the roasting dish and return to the oven for at least a further 2 hours. Check if the lamb is tender after this time, if not you can cook for a further 30-60 minutes. Add a little more water if the dish becomes dry at the bottom as there will then be a risk of burning the joint.
  6. Once the cooking time is over, you must rest the lamb. I know it’s tempting to start eating it straight away but you mustn’t! Cover tightly with foil and leave in a warm place for at least 20-30 minutes; the lamb will then become beautifully tender and even more delicious.
  7. Serve this joint with naan breads and salad and maybe some home-made cucumber raitha. It is  great on its own or as the centrepiece of a more elaborate feast.

I hope this will give you another idea of how to prepare great British Lamb in a less traditional way.

Have a look at for more inspiration and bring the flavours and spices of Bengali-British fusion cuisine to your table.