RecipeTin Eats x Good Food: 12-hour Greek slow-roasted lamb shoulder

Cook once, eat thrice: Slow-roaster lamb shoulder.
Cook once, eat thrice: Slow-roaster lamb shoulder. Photo: William Meppem

For the most meltingly tender roast lamb of your life, roast it for 12 hours in a very low oven. And give lamb leg a miss. Lamb shoulder is the way to go – more flavour, much juicier!

Roasting 

Slow roasting the lamb – I find it easiest to do this overnight. Plus, it leaves the oven free during the day to make other things. The low oven temperature and amount of water used is specifically designed so it's safe to leave the oven on overnight. After 12 hours, there is a LOT of liquid still left in the roasting pan – no risk of burnt pan drippings!

Reheating

Reheating and storing lamb – The beauty of lamb shoulder cooked this way is that it reheats to 100 per cent freshly made perfection. After the lamb is cooked overnight, cover loosely with foil then leave to fully cool. Then refrigerate until required. To reheat, cover in foil and reheat in a 150C oven for 1 hour. In the event of an emergency, microwave it!

Meat allocation between dishes

  • Each 1.8kg lamb shoulder yields 900g cooked meat (with larger fat bits removed).
  • Serve the first lamb shoulder for the roast dinner, reserving 100g of meat for the moussaka and gyros.
  • You need 500g cooked, shredded lamb meat for the moussaka and 500g for the gyros, 1kg in total. Use the second lamb shoulder plus 100g from the first. 
  • Cooked lamb will keep 5 days in the fridge, or freezer for 3 months.
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12-hour Greek slow-roasted lamb shoulder

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lamb shoulders, 1.8kg each (bone in, shank attached)
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 brown onions (unpeeled), each cut into 6 wedges

Marinade

  • 1½ tbsp rosemary, chopped (finely)
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1½ tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 210C fan-forced (230C conventional).
  2. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Divide between lamb shoulders and rub onto the surface, getting into all the cracks and crevices. Marinate for 2 hours in a roasting pan on the counter, or up to 24 hours in a ceramic or glass dish in the fridge.
  3. Scatter onion in the base of the roasting pan. Place lamb shoulders on top – they can be snug, but make sure they are in a single layer, not stacked.
  4. Pour the water into the pan and roast, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
  5. Cover with baking paper, then a double layer of foil and seal tightly.
  6. Turn the oven down to 100C (fan-forced and conventional) and roast for 12 hours – the meat should be fall-apart tender with quite a lot of liquid left in the pan.
  7. Move lamb to a large dish and cover loosely with foil. If you are eating the Greek roast for lunch, this should keep it warm until the jus is made. If you are eating roast for dinner, follow the reheating instructions above. 
  8. To make the lamb stock, strain the pan juices into a large saucepan. Remove fat with a ladle, or let it cool so the fat solidifies then remove it. You should end up with about 1 litre of lamb stock.
  9. Simmer on medium heat until it reduces to 500ml.
  10. Remove 250ml (1 cup) and reserve for the moussaka. Refrigerate until required (up to 5 days, or freeze 3 months).
  11. Use the remaining 1 cup to make a jus to serve with the lamb shoulder (recipe below).

Lamb jus (for serving with 12-hour slow-roasted lamb)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup lamb stock, per above directions, hot
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Pour lamb stock into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. Mix cornflour with water. Add into lamb stock. Cook for a minute or two over medium heat, stirring every now and then, until it thickens to a syrup consistency.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve jus with slow-roasted lamb, along with Greek lemon roast potatoes.