While the leg of lamb roast is often the more popular choice, the incredible, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of a slow-cooked lamb shoulder should not to be underestimated. To achieve the best results with this recipe, be sure to marinate your lamb shoulder overnight.
Prep time 20 minutes (plus overnight marinating)
Cook 5½ hours (plus resting)
- 1 lamb shoulder, bone in, about 1.8kg
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 8 anchovies, halved
- 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
- 2 brown onions, thickly sliced
- 250ml (1 cup) dry white wine
- Olive oil, for drizzling
Tomato, chickpea and farro salad
- 220g farro (see note)
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, ﬁnely chopped
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 400g mixed cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
- 1 large handful each of mint and ﬂat-leaf parsley
NOTES: The same technique can be used to slow-roast a lamb leg on the bone and will result in the same melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Farro is a type of wheat grain with a nutty texture and earthy ﬂavour. It is available from delicatessens, but if it’s unavailable, you can use barley or freekeh instead.
1. Make short but deep incisions at 3–4 cm intervals all over the lamb. Stuff each incision with a slice of garlic, a piece of anchovy and a few rosemary leaves. Cover and refrigerate overnight for the ﬂavours to develop: you can cook the lamb straight away, but the ﬂavour will be deeper and richer if you have the time to let it marinate. Bring to room temperature for 1-1½ hours before cooking.
2. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Spread the onion slices in the base of a large roasting tin, add the wine and 500ml (2 cups) of water, then place the lamb on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil, season to taste, cover with a piece of baking paper then with foil and roast, basting occasionally, for 4–5 hours until fork tender.
3. Meanwhile, cook the farro for the salad in a large saucepan of boiling water for 45–50 minutes until tender, then drain and transfer to a bowl. Add the onion, garlic, lemon zest and juice, the vinegar and 80ml (⅓ cup) of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
4. Increase the oven temperature to 180°C. Remove the foil and baking paper from the lamb and roast uncovered for 20–30 minutes until browned. Removed from the oven, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, toss the chickpeas, cumin and the remaining oil for the salad in a small roasting tin, season with salt and pepper and roast for 15–20 minutes until golden brown, then set aside to cool slightly before adding the chickpeas to the farro mixture. Add the tomatoes and herbs, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine well.
6. Serve the lamb with the onions from the tin and any pan juices, with the tomato, chickpea and farro salad.