Slow-roast shoulder of lamb with anchovy & rosemary

Slow-roast shoulder of lamb with anchovy & rosemary

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(28 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 4 hrs


Serves 6
This generous dish of melt-in-the-mouth lamb feels extravagant, but is an inexpensive way to feed a crowd

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal535
  • fat41g
  • saturates19g
  • carbs5g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre1g
  • protein37g
  • salt0.67g
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  • 4 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed



    Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp capers, finely chopped



    Capers are the small flower buds of the Capparis shrub, which grows in the Mediterranean. As…

  • 3 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped



    Silver, slender salty little fish found mainly around the Black Sea and the Pacific and Atlantic…

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 whole lemons



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 1½ kg shoulder of lamb, on the bone



    A lamb is a sheep that is under one year old, and is known for its delicate flavour and tender…

  • 2 red onion, cut into wedges
  • small glass white wine


  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Finely chop the rosemary, then mix with the garlic, capers, anchovies, olive oil and zest and juice of 1 lemon, reserving the used lemon halves. Make 3-4 slashes across the top of the shoulder, then rub the rosemary mixture all over the lamb.

  2. Scatter the onion into the base of a large roasting tin, cut the remaining lemon in half, squeeze the juices into the tin, and place all the used lemon halves in the tin with the onions. Place the lamb on top and roast for 1 hr. Pour in the wine and roast for a further 3 hrs until the meat is really tender. Leave to rest for 15 mins then serve, pulled into chunks rather than carved, with any pan juices.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (45)

Tommytwoguns's picture

Cooked for xmas dinner. Followed to the letter. Delicious, and my partners a VERY hard person to please with new flavours. Marinate in the mixture overnight, thats my tip. Added a little sweet chutney to the sauce and even my 7 year old loved it.

nickywoolner's picture

also cooked this and it is really bitter, disappointed I've wasted 4 hours cooking something inedible for my family.

Conal's picture

Great recipe. To take the bitterness from the juices, add a teaspoon of fruity jam, then make your gravy.

Pottage's picture

Delicious. I used 1 lemon, 1 kg good quality lamb shoulder and a small roasting tin. Followed instructions. Served with simple mashed swede to soak up the juices. Will definitely be making this often.

Uncompromiser's picture

Absolutely dreadful recipe. He's clearly never tried it. Used new season west country shoulder (£20) and followed the recipe to the letter. Firstly, even at 140°c Fan the lamb burnt after 3 hours (ie an hour before the end). It looked nothing like the photo in the recipe which is a nice golden colour. Secondly, the sauce/gravy (which the recipe makes no mention of at the end of preparation - my suggestion would be to throw it away!)is disgusting. Sour lemon/wine taste that you could no more make gravy out of than you could out of coal tar soap.
All in all - badly written, badly thought out and a complete waste of a (potentially) nice shoulder of spring lamb.

Kaaplaar's picture

Absolutely agree with you! This recipe just waste money and time! The meat completely dried off.

reichem's picture

Based on other comments I only used about half a lemon but still found the juices slightly sour- not lemony and tangy but sour. I used a rose wine and kept adding to keep the juices from drying out and the meat was tender and tasty so I will definitely do this again but without the lemons.

bacon-n-egg's picture

Using home raised lamb with plenty of fat. I used one lemon and a roughly chopped red onions. I sat the meat on top so the juices made the lemon and onions sticky and delicious (no burnt bits here) - I chopped this up and added to the meat when serving. Made a good gravy. Served with baked carrots, parnsips, green veg and potato dauphenois. A real hit!

claire_rowberry's picture

I agree with the earlier comments - the 2 lemons left a very bitter and burnt flavour to the juices which we found extremely unpleasant - I had to discard all the juices and the onions as they were so sour tasting. Sounds like its worth another try, but with the lemons omitted.

bacon-n-egg's picture

After reading the comments I just 1/4 one lemon and sat the meat on top with the onions. I found this made a lovely sticky concoction which wasn't burnt at all. There was a slight tint of bitter but not overwhelming but really pleasant. I found my lamb shoulder released so much juices and with the addition of the wine kept the pan very moist.

dcwizz's picture

Just delicious. I made this with a 2kg leg to end with a little less fat Used the same timings and most of the same ingredients but a little less lemon and loads more wine. It seemed odd to deeply cut a leg however it worked incredibly well. Went to a BBQ and rolled the leg until the outside crisped then sliced down to the bone for a little pink middle and melt in the mouth outer. Try it.

ellie1789's picture

One member of my family found the lemons too strong in the meat juice so I would advise to use only one. I however quite enjoyed the taste. I added lamb gravy granules with some water to create more sauce. Many of the red onions burned. The meat was very tender and practically fell off the bone; I got many 'mhmm' noises at the table. I served it with honey-glazed carrots, broccoli and roasted potatoes.

karendow's picture

I've made this several times and it has always been delicious. With a fan oven don't be tempted to go any higher than 140 or it does dry out. I've just made it with a mixture of lime and lemon as I didn't have enough and shallots as I had no red onions. Still fab.

cdacn1's picture

Made this today with slight amendments as I didn't have everything in. Used red wine instead of white and preserved lemons instead of fresh -all worked well and would definately do it again. As some said, there was little juice at the end but just added a bit of water and made a gravy in the roasting pan on th hob, super.

pattidevans's picture

My shoulder of lamb was twice the size of the one in the recipe (bought the shoulder first then looked for ways to cook it). I cooked it for 5.5 hours. The "juices" in the pan kept drying up, so I kept on adding wine. In the end I had used a whole bottle. The friends who ate it said it was "the best lamb they'd ever eaten" - it was scrummy.

jweg1210's picture

Would have preferred plain roast lamb with mint sauce. Like other people I thought the lemon added an unwelcome bitter taste, plus the pan juices just tasted burnt.

impeed's picture

All the Alchohol dissapears with not alchoholic at all once cooked :0)

aisha79's picture

Hi is there an altenrative to the wine (no alcoholic?)

jutekako's picture

Way to much lemon, must be an error ?


Questions (2)

hotpots's picture

I hope to cook this meal in the next few days. My question is do you cover the joint with tinfoil when cooking?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. No, there is no need to cover the lamb first

Tips (1)

Sir Timothy's picture

Maybe I'd only use one lemon in future, but because it tasted far too lemony, I melted in some redcurrant jelly. I'm not sure what I did differently because there was loads of sauce and once the fat had been separated off, it was completely delicious - so much so that one of our guests asked for bread and poured the left over gravy on to it! The gravy/sauce was still lemony and tangy, but not overpoweringly so and the recurrant jelly softened it. New potatoes and an orange/chicory salad accompanied it.

My husband had bought very much reduced shoulder which had been boned and rolled, - it made for much easier carving and four hungry people gobbled up 1 1/2 kgs of it! I cooked it on a very low gas, covered with foil for 4 hours.