Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Herbs de Provence

We’re a roast night kinda family. While I class myself as a pretty experienced cook, and will happily try any good recipe, nothing excites my family as much as when I say there is a roast on the table. Seriously, eyes just light up! Because who doesn’t drool over a good roast dinner? So here’s my really easy slow-cooked lamb shoulder. It’s a handful of simple ingredients and flavors, roasted at a lower temperature in the oven for a few hours until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender!

A Slow-cooked lamb shoulder with some of the meat pulled apart on a timber chopping board.

Here’s why you are going to love this slow-cooked lamb recipe

Never cooked with a lamb shoulder before? You are in for a treat! While many of us grew up on the roast night leg of lamb (farmer’s daughter here!), lamb shoulder was not nearly as common, as the lamb meat was taken off the bone for a slow-cooked casserole.  However trust me, it’s just as good! And it’s a super easy roast night dinner. The catch is, is that for a lamb shoulder’s meat to fall off the bone, it requires slow cooking on a low temperature for a couple of hours. Hands on time though… Under 30 minutes with minimal effort.

Once you’ve cooked this lamb shoulder roast low and slow for a few hours, the hard work is pretty much done. It works so well as a roast dinner for roast nights or on special occasions like Easter or Thanksgiving. Or try it rehashed with a salad or made into homemade gyros alongside salad vegetables and tzatziki. Personally, I love using leftover slow-roast lamb as a pizza topping, so I’ll always pop a little aside and freeze for our next pizza night!

What you need to get started

  • Lamb Shoulder (bone-in). I use roughly a 2.4 kg lamb shoulder for this lamb recipe. While you could also use a boneless lamb shoulder for this recipe (cooking time will vary), the bone-in variety helps to keep the meat succulent and juicy.  Lamb’s shoulders are one of the cheaper cuts of lamb suited to slow cooking. By cooking at a lower temperature for a longer period it allows the connective tissue to break down and become palatable, giving us delicious pull apart, tender lamb. Be sure to take the meat out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature for an hour before cooking. 


  • Herbs de Provence is a mixture of herbs typical of the Provence region in the south of France. It’s a pantry staple for a slow cook. As well as a great marinade for a lamb roast, it is also delicious as a roast chicken dry rub. Also, try sprinkling this all-purpose seasoning blend over roast vegetables and adding it to soups, casseroles, and stews. Try it sprinkled over chicken breasts and grill on the BBQ. It’s a quick and easy chicken dish for dinner alongside a side salad.


  • Sea salt flakes, freshly ground Black Pepper, Olive Oil, Water


  • Sprigs of fresh rosemary – I used 5 x 10cm sprigs for this recipe


  • Brown onions, fresh garlic bulbs, and garlic cloves


  • White Wine. No need to use your favorite pinot gris for this one. Cheaper wines are great for slow cooking and I swear no one will be able to tell whether you cooked with a $45 chardonnay or an $8 sav blanc!

The Details

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.


  2. Add the bulb of garlic cut in half horizontally, and onion halves to the roasting pan. 


  3. Place the lamb shoulder on a chopping board, meaty, side up.


  4. In a small bowl, combine the herbs de Provence, sea salt flakes, and black pepper. Rub the whole lamb shoulder all over with olive oil and then the sea salt rub.


  5. Using a small, sharp, paring knife, make 6-ish incisions approx. 1-2cm deep over the top of the roast. In each incision, push in a garlic clove slice and a 3cm sprig of rosemary. Place the lamb shoulder on top of the garlic and onions.


  6. Add the water and wine to the base of the pan, along with the remaining rosemary sprigs.


  7. Drizzle the roast with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.


  8. Cover with a lid or double layer of foil. Pop the lamb roast into the oven and reduce the temperature to 170 degrees. Cook for 4 hours or until the meat can be pulled apart with two forks


  9. Remove from the oven and take the lid (or foil) off the pan. Increase the oven temperature to 200 degrees C and pop everything back into the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest before serving.

Equipment you’ll need to make this slow-roasted lamb shoulder

This recipe was cooked in my Le Creuset 32cm Marmite (rounded bottom French oven). I’m always going to recommend a cast iron casserole for slow roasting as I feel they give you the ultimate cooking environment, however, you can also try an oven-safe casserole with a tight-fitting lid, crock pot, slow cooker, or roasting pan that you can cover with tin foil. Just be aware that cooking times may vary depending on the cooking vessel used.


A small, sharp paring knife is also perfect for making incisions in the lamb shoulder as well as cutting the garlic. You’ll also need a small bowl and chopping board.

Cook’s Notes

This recipe is based on a 2.4kg lamb shoulder. I’ve also cooked this slow roast lamb shoulder with smaller pieces of meat depending on availability. A 1.5 kg shoulder will need a shorter cooking time (approx, 3 hours), while anything bigger than 2.4kg, may require a little longer. My advice is if you are unsure, check your lamb shoulder roast at 3 hours. Put a fork in it to see if the meat gives way, or if it resists, it simply needs more cooking time. so pop the lid back on and pop it back into the oven for another hour. The best part of this recipe is providing you keep an eye on your roast lamb, it’s very hard to overcook it!

Here’s what to serve with slow-cooked lamb shoulder

Lamb roast is my favorite kind of roast dinner. As a kid, we lived on lamb as we had a sheep and cattle farm, and we had our own meat. Every couple of months, we’d get boxes and boxes full of butchered meat that had to be portioned out and wrapped for freezing. The first few weeks after the delivery were always a treat, kind of like having your own butcher shop in the mudroom! A good-sized lamb shoulder roast will also be big enough to eat for numerous days. In our house, I serve my lamb roasts with roast potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato as side dishes. Peas or some form of greens like steamed broccoli or green beans are a must, as is a homemade lamb gravy made from the cooking juices in the roasting tray. Mint sauce is always on the table too.

Some other sides that I cook alongside my slow-roast lamb shoulder are black garlic potato gratin or colcannon.  If it’s Summer and I’m looking to lighten things up a bit I like to serve up lamb with this Freekeh and fava bean salad, and homemade hummus, or even this delicious roasted beetroot and labneh salad works a treat too.

Want to make some homemade gravy from the drippings?

To make a sauce from the roast lamb drippings…

Remove the meat from the pan and leave to rest. Strain the remaining contents of the pot through a strainer or preferably a gravy separator. Leave the liquid to settle for a few minutes so the oil and water separate. In the roasting dish combine 3 tbsp liquid with 1 tbsp plain, all-purpose flour. Whisk on a low heat until it is combined. Stirring continuously, continue adding the liquid (with as little of the separated oil as possible) a little at a time while the sauce thickens. Cook gently for approx. 15 minutes, stirring until you have the desired consistency and flavor. If you need more liquid, you can add a little water. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

So you have leftovers!

Great news! Leftover slow roast shoulder of lamb is stuff my dreams are made of. Lamb sandwiches for days I say! We always opt for homemade gyros on day two. It makes an easy DIY dinner as everyone can make their own. All you need is some warmed pitta bread, grated cheddar cheese, salad fillings like lettuce, tomato, Spanish onion, cucumber, and a sauce. Hummus and a hot chili sauce are the fave combo in our house!

A Friday Night grilled Lamb quesadilla is another goody as is a little shredded lamb over a pizza or thrown in a tomato-based pasta sauce.

Storage

Once cooled, feftover lamb can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.

You can also freeze leftover cooked lamb shoulder. I like to portion up leftovers and freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, simply remove it from the freezer and pop it into the fridge overnight. Reheat either in the microwave or by placing it into a roasting pan with a little water. cover with foil and pop into a 150 degree oven for 30 minutes or until warmed through.

Love a roast dinner? Here’s a few more you might like to try

Happy roast night!

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A Slow-cooked lamb shoulder with some of the meat pulled apart on a timber chopping board.

Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder

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  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow cook
  • Cuisine: French

Description

So here’s my really easy slow-cooked lamb shoulder. It’s a handful of simple ingredients and flavors, roasted at a lower temperature in the oven for a few hours until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, sliced in half horizontally + 3 cloves
  • 2 brown onions, cut in half
  • 2.4kg approx. lamb shoulder (bone-in)
  • 2 tsp herbs de Provence
  • 2 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 sprigs rosemary approx, 10cm long
  • 375ml cups water
  • 1 cup white wine

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  2. Add the bulb of garlic cut in half horizontally, and onion halves to the roasting pan. 
  3. Place the lamb shoulder on a chopping board, meaty, side up.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the herbs de Provence, sea salt flakes, and black pepper. Rub the whole lamb shoulder all over with olive oil and then the sea salt rub.
  5. Using a small, sharp, paring knife, make 6-ish incisions approx. 1-2cm deep over the top of the roast. In each incision, push in a garlic clove slice and a 3cm sprig of rosemary. Place the lamb shoulder on top of the garlic and onions.
  6. Add the water and wine to the base of the pan, along with the remaining rosemary sprigs.
  7. Drizzle the roast with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  8. Cover with a lid or double layer of foil. Pop the lamb roast into the oven and reduce the temperature to 170 degrees. Cook for 4 hours or until the meat can be pulled apart with two forks
  9. Remove from the oven and take the lid (or foil) off the pan. Increase the oven temperature to 200 degrees C and pop everything back into the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest before serving.

Notes

This recipe is based on a 2.4kg lamb shoulder. I’ve also cooked this slow roast lamb shoulder with smaller pieces of meat depending on availability. A 1.5 kg shoulder will need a shorter cooking time (approx, 3 hours), while anything bigger than 2.4kg, may require a little longer. My advice is if you are unsure, check your lamb shoulder roast at 3 hours. Put a fork in it to see if the meat gives way, or if it resists, it simply needs more cooking time. so pop the lid back on and pop it back into the oven for another hour. The best part of this recipe is providing you keep an eye on your roast lamb, it’s very hard to overcook it!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 831
  • Sugar: 1.9 g
  • Sodium: 1939.4 mg
  • Fat: 60.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.9 g
  • Protein: 52.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 213 mg

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4 Comments

    1. No I’m sorry I haven’t tried this in a crockpot. While I’m sure you could cook it in a slow cooker, you would get a totally different result given that you won’t get a roast effect like cooking in the oven.

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