Easty feasty: Slow roasted Moroccan lamb shoulder with fresh mint sauce

By Unna Burch

Featured in Capital #10
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A shoulder of lamb is a cheap cut, cheaper than a leg, so it’s perfect for feeding a group of people. Slow roasting is super easy, even for an amateur cook because there’s no blushing pink, poking or prodding of the meat, you just let it cook and do its thing. You know it’s good when the meat just falls from the bone. And I can guarantee you it will still be succulent and juicy! With some fresh salads it’s the perfect Easter time feast.

Prep: 30 mins
Cook time: 3 ½  hours
Serves:  8


For the lamb:
4 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp  cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tspn  sumac (optional)
1 bunch rosemary, leaved picked, finely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 red onions, halved and roughly sliced
1 shoulder of lamb, weighing about 2kg, lightly scored
Salt and pepper

For the mint sauce:
bunch of mint
pinch salt
4 tbsp boiling water
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 level tbsp caster sugar


1. Heat oven to 160C. Heat a small frying pan on a medium heat and toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and sumac until the seeds start to pop and brown a little. This will intensify their flavour. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind (or bash on a board with a rolling pin OR you can use already ground cumin and ground coriander).

2. Transfer the spices to a small bowl with the honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary and garlic and mix to combine. Scatter the onion over a casserole dish or a deep roasting tin. Place the lamb on top of the onions. Pour the glaze over the lamb. Rinse the bowl out with about 200ml water, then pour it around – not over – the lamb.

2. Cover the dish with a lid or the tin with a large piece of foil. Roast the lamb, undisturbed, for 3 hrs, then remove the lid or foil and continue to roast for 30 mins to give the lamb colour. When the lamb has had its time, pour off the juices, remove as much fat as possible, then pour the juices back over the lamb. All those onions will be caramelised and sticky and yummy. I serve with some wedges of lemon on the side. This may seem like an odd thing to serve with lamb, but just a little squeeze cuts thru the fattiness of the lamb.

For the fresh mint sauce:

1. Pull the leaves from the stalks. Sprinkle with salt on a board and chop finely.

2. Put into a jug or bowl, add the sugar and pour over the boiling water, stir and leave to cool.

Stir in the vinegar and taste. Add more water or vinegar and adjust seasoning to suit your taste.


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