Slow-roast shoulder of lamb with anchovy & rosemary

Slow-roast shoulder of lamb with anchovy & rosemary

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(38 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 in bowl



    Capers are the small flower buds of the Capparis shrub that grows in the Mediterranean. As they…

  • 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…

  • 1½ kg shoulder of lamb, on the bone



    A lamb is a sheep that is under 1 year old; between 1 and 2 years old you will find it sold as…

  • 2 red onions, 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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25th Jul, 2020
4th May, 2020
Delicious recipe that worked really well. Our lamb was twice the size of the recipe but didn't take much longer to cook - I covered it in foil towards the end to avoid it burning. And we were overly generous on the lemons so added some (cherry) jam to the sauce to balance (good tip Conal!). Really don't get the moans on here about it - use some common sense, keep an eye on the cooking process and do some tasting throughout. It's a great recipe.
RNGoodman's picture
4th Jan, 2019
I made this receipe just before Christmas for a dinner party and everyone LOVED it! I was dubious after reading the comments but I made sure the onions and ONE lemon (quartered) were tucked under the shoulder of lamb. For the gravy I added some recurrant jelly and a little bit of sugar. I cooked it at 140 for one hour and 135 for the remaining 3 hours in a fan oven. Delicious and am making it again tonight for another dinner party.
RNGoodman's picture
4th Jan, 2019
I made this and everyone LOVED it! I was dubious after reading the comments but I made sure all the onions and two halves of ONE lemon were tucked under the shoulder of lamb and they cooked beautifully. I didn't feel that the lemons gave a bitter taste and no one else did either. I have a fan assisted oven that I turned right down to 135 for the 3 hours of cooking after the initial hour at 150 in my fan oven. I also added some recurrant jelly to the gravy and a little sugar. A delicious pre-Christmas meal that I am making again tonight for friends.
10th Aug, 2018
This a fabulous recipe for the lamb but I do omit the lemons and onions from the baking tray. If your oven cooks it quicker than it says, take it out of the oven! I’ve never had that problem though - the lamb has always been very tasty and moist.
Tatsuya Miwa's picture
Tatsuya Miwa
1st Jul, 2018
Amazing recipe. Like some of the other comments, the jus does turn out quite sour from the 2 lemons. To remedy this, keep adding sugar bit by bit until the sourness turn into a nice sweet & sour taste. For me, this step is a must.
2nd Apr, 2018
I was slightly nervous of this considering some of the comments but it was absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe to the letter apart from having the oven lower for a couple of hours because I was going out and so it got longer. I would definitely do it again.
25th Dec, 2015
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.
13th Dec, 2015
also cooked this and it is really bitter, disappointed I've wasted 4 hours cooking something inedible for my family.
11th Nov, 2015
Great recipe. To take the bitterness from the juices, add a teaspoon of fruity jam, then make your gravy.


17th Feb, 2014
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
28th Feb, 2014
Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. No, there is no need to cover the lamb first
Sir Timothy
30th Apr, 2014
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.
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