Saturday, April 19, 2014

Slow-Roasted Lamb with 40 Cloves of Garlic #NationalGarlicDay

Lamb shoulder is the perfect cut for a good long roasting in the oven and it goes especially well with garlic in abundance. The tender meat falls off the bones and the resulting gravy is rich and aromatic. If you’ve never tried lamb shoulder, it’s time, friends, it’s time. This recipe is best started early in the morning, or even the day before you want to serve it.

Growing up, my grandmother had what we call a fouillon about lamb that she passed on to my mother. I have no idea how that’s really spelled but it means a quirk against or an aversion in Cajun French. My mom extended this aversion to anything goat, as well, even my beloved goat milk cheese. She said she could taste the animal and it didn’t taste good. 

Needless to say, we never had lamb at home when I was a child so I didn’t really have an opportunity to try it until I married into a family of Brits who eat lamb all the time. It was too late to change my grandmother's mind, but I am pleased to say that I have converted my mother now and she enjoys rack of lamb and goat cheese. (Still working on the other cuts!) The moral of this story is that your mother is almost always right, unless she’s wrong.

Today we are celebrating National Garlic Day with a great garlicky giveaway and lots of center stage garlic recipes! Aside from its medicinal properties, garlic just tastes good. It adds warmth and spiciness and there are very few recipes that cannot be improved upon by adding garlic. Even ice cream! No kidding. Check out girlichef’s creamy treat made with black garlic in the links below. And make sure to enter the draw for the giveaway. One winner takes all!


Time! (This roasts for 6 and a half hours, not counting preparation and marinating time.)
1 shoulder of lamb on the bone, around 6 lbs or 2.7kg
1 cup or 240ml dry red wine

For seasoning the roast:
Leaves from 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary (Plus extra sprigs for garnish, if desired)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
10-12 black or mixed peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons flakey sea salt (like Maldon)
12 cloves garlic (about 1 3/4 oz or 50g)
1/8 cup or 30ml pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup or 60ml olive oil
Plus six extra cloves of garlic sliced lengthwise in quarters or sixths.

AND 22 more cloves – more or less – for adding to the pan in the last hour of roasting for a overall total of 40 cloves or about 6 oz or 165g of garlic.

Use a mortar and pestle to crush the first eight ingredients in the spice mix list until you create a fine paste. Add in the pomegranate molasses and olive oil and stir until well combined.

Put the extra six sliced cloves into the mix.

Score the fatty top of your lamb shoulder with a sharp knife. Using a small paring knife, make holes all over the shoulder, turning the knife as you plunge it in to widen the holes enough for you to fit a forefinger in them.

Poke a piece of garlic into each hole, along with some of the spice mixture, until you’ve used up all the extra garlic and have spice filled holes on all the sides of the lamb.

Rub the rest of the spice mixture all over the shoulder. Wrap it securely with cling film, refrigerate and leave to marinate as long as you can. Overnight would be great but even an hour or two would be good.

When you are ready to start roasting the lamb shoulder, remove it from the refrigerator and preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Put lamb in a baking tray or pan and roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Add in your cup of wine and another cup of water around the roast. Cover with a tightly fitting lid or some aluminum foil. Turn the oven down to 250°F or 120°C.

After five hours, take the lamb out and toss in the remaining 22 whole garlic cloves. Baste it with the pan juices, cover the pan again and return it to the oven for one last hour of slow roasting.

When you are ready to serve, spoon off the oil in the pan. You can then pull the meat off the bones with a couple of forks and pour the pan juices over it. I let mine cool for quite a while and then wiggled the bones out to leave the roast looking relatively whole. Then I served it with a couple of forks and the pan juices made into gravy on the side. It was divine!

How about these wonderful recipes celebrating GARLIC!


  1. I'll bring some garlic bread along to sop up all that delicious broth!

  2. Oh my GOSH, this is awesome!'s better than awesome... it's awesomesauce! :)

  3. I could almost smell this cooking as I scrolled through you pictures. Incredible!!! And that pile of caramelized, roasted garlic on the plate could literally knock me over with a feather! SO good!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe. I'll be stumbling and pinning it.
    Happy National Garlic Day!

  4. HOT. DAMN. STACY. Hot freakin' damn. I am at a loss, this looks beyond fantastic. It's just one of those things I look and and think about and NEED in my life NOW. I was going to comment on the mother thing, but I've lost all train of thought. Wowza.

  5. I love lamb, and I don't quite understand why it isn't more popular! This looks amazing!!!

  6. Confession time, Stacy. Much to my DH's sadness I have never ever made lamb…looking at your amazing recipe makes me just want to give it a try. This just looks amazing, and you know I just love how long it roasts in the oven. This is just stellar!!!

  7. Great story. I'll have to replicate this dish because Mrs. Stuntman loves lamb.

  8. Ummm yes please!! I know what I'm making for Eid this year!


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