Slow Cooked Shoulder of Lamb with Potatoes, Thyme and Garlic

I love a roast on a Sunday.  I love a long dog walk on a Sunday.   Or catching up on all the things I’d promised myself I would do during the week – like pottering in the garden or reading the Sunday newspapers with a large cup of coffee.   Unfortunately producing a roast and doing any of these things usually doesn’t make for a relaxing day.  Enter the solution – Slow Cooked Shoulder of Lamb.  Particularly appropriate this St David’s Day weekend but delicious any time.   The lamb sits on a layer of garlicky potatoes and onions (though you could substitute thickly sliced leeks if you want to go all out for the Welsh theme) which absorb all the lambs cooking juice and fill the house with the most amazing appetising smells. It cooks for 4-5 hours leaving you plenty of time to do other things (see all of the above) whilst it gently cooks in your oven.   It’s a dish that looks after itself, is flexible if your walk takes an hour longer than you thought (or you diverted by the pub) and any leftovers can be turned into dishes for the week ahead – for example Monday Pie.  The meat ends up so soft when it finishes cooking you can pull the bones out with your hands!  It’s practically the lamb equivalent of pulled pork!

Now I am not going to pretend that this is a new recipe – it’s anything but – though it seems to have gone out of fashion.  Perhaps it’s because lamb shoulder is often overlooked in favour of the more expensive leg.   But you aren’t just restricted to using shoulder of lamb.   You can also use hogget  (hogget being 12-24 months old rather than under a year it has more flavour and we are lucky to have a wonderful supply from next door) or if you like really strong-tasting meat use mutton.  As for the potatoes I would recommend you use a waxy type such as Desiree or Charlotte as this way the potatoes won’t fall about during the long cooking process.

I serve the lamb with red currant jelly and accompany it with a salad of my own devising which we call in this house the “Italian” Salad and for which I will give the recipe separately.  See Italian Salad with Olives, Parmesan and Basil  Or if that doesn’t appeal you might want to try traditional mint sauce or a salsa verde or herb dressing (for recipe see  Chicken, Olive and Tomato Traybake with Herb Dressing) and a vegetable or two if your own choosing such as sprouting broccoli or spring greens.   For pudding I found at this time of year, the  Blood Orange Tart I posted about last time, and which I made the day, before went particularly well finishing the meal off with a zing after the rich lamb.

So if you are looking for an easy Sunday yet still want a roast then try this out.  My mouth is already watering in anticipation.

Slow Cooked Roast Shoulder of Lamb


Ingredients (serves 4-6 with leftovers)

  • About a 2kg shoulder of lamb/hogget/mutton, bone in
  • 1.5kg waxy potatoes (about 6 large) such as Desiree
  • Bunch of thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 onions
  • 500ml stock (chicken or lamb), cube is fine
  • salt and pepper

The “Italian” Salad



  1. Heat oven to 160c/140fan/350F/Gas 3
  2. Peel and slice the potatoes into the thickness of a pound coin
  3. Peel and slice the onions thinly
  4. Finely chop 4 cloves of peeled garlic
  5. Put potatoes, garlic and onions into a large roasting/oven proof serving dish
  6. Strip off the thyme leaves from sprigs and add to dish along with salt and pepper
  7. Mix together thoroughly (I find this easier to do using my hands)
  8. Pour over stock
  9. Take the shoulder of lamb and make a series of downward cuts into it.
  10. Slice the remaining cloves of garlic and use to fill each cut in the lamb
  11. Place lamb shoulder directly on top of potatoes and season it well
  12. Cook in oven, uncovered, for 4-5 hours so lamb is cooked and potatoes are tender
  13. At this stage I like to remove lamb onto a carving plate and cover with foil allowing it to rest for 20 mins whilst I return potatoes to oven to brown a little more
  14. Just before serving you can if you like wiggle out the lamb bones (I have asbestos hands) which makes the lamb really easy to pull apart into chunks.   Serve with potatoes the sauce of choice and whatever veg or salad you fancy

Bones wiggle out easily from the cooked lamb shoulder




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