Greek Style Shoulder of Lamb

While we are all used to cooking and eating lamb chops or roasted leg of lamb, or even minced lamb in a moussaka, or diced lamb in a Lancashire hotpot, many people are less confident with the shoulder of lamb.  But if you don’t choose the shoulder, you are really missing out on a truly delicious meal!

The secret to roasting a perfect shoulder of lamb is to slow-cook it.  If you have ever sat in a Greek island taverna with a glass of heavy red wine and then tucked into a lamb cooked the Greek way, you will understand what I mean.  And it’s really simple…

I think a shoulder of lamb on the bone is better for this dish, but you can ask one of our butchers to bone and roll it if you prefer. The shoulder of lamb will have some fat on it.  Do NOT trim the fat off!  Simply make a number of slits one centimetre or half an inch deep and insert slivers of garlic.  Season well with salt and pepper, add a little lamb stock or water to the baking dish and roast in a moderate oven for two to three hours.

Baste and turn the shoulder regularly, adding stock if there is any danger of the dish drying out.  Half an hour before the lamb is cooked add sprigs of rosemary and thyme to the juices.  Do not put these herbs into the dish at the start as they will blacken and give an unpleasant taste.

The traditional Greek way would be to add potatoes to the roasting dish at the start so that they absorb the meat juices but I prefer to serve the joint in its juices, accompanied by crispy, thin French fries.

When you carve the joint it should fall off the bone, with the meat sweet and succulent, lightly flavoured with the garlic and herbs. And you can dream of that faraway Greek island in the sun…