Every summer I spend a few weeks at my sister’s house in Brittany and I come back every time with a new culinary obsession inspired by countless hours spent around the kitchen with my family cooking, eating, and talking about food. One year my preoccupation was yogurt, another time marinated olives, and one year it was slow-roasted lamb. There simply is no better way to cook—or eat—lamb. It’s completely stress-free and utterly delicious.
The gist of the recipe is to rub the lamb with herbs and garlic and let it cook for hours in a very low oven. It is a beautiful dish to serve for any holiday feast, and with a bit of luck there might be some left over for a lazy next day. —nettleandquince
Test Kitchen Notes
This is one of the easiest, most straightforward ways to prepare a whole bone-in lamb shoulder. A wonderful showstopper of an entrée, you can make it for the holidays, from Christmas to Easter, or whenever a special occasion rolls around. Everyone will be impressed by the presentation as well as the taste. The lamb would go very well with oven-roasted vegetables, polenta, or mashed potatoes. First, a simple paste of coriander, lots of herbs, salt, and garlic is rubbed all over the lamb. The lamb is then seared in a hot oven in a cast-iron skillet or roasting pan, which helps the outside get beautifully browned and locks in all the juices during the slow-roast. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F, then set it and forget it for 3 to 4 hours. Most of the prep for this recipe is entirely hands off. We recommend pulling the meat a little bit before an instant-read thermometer registers 145°F for medium-rare, as the lamb will continue to cook as it sits.
As a commenter mentions, you can also slow-roast the lamb on top of a pile of vegetables, like onions, mushrooms, and carrots, to make this a one-pot meal. Any veggie that can be slow-roasted would work. Serve with a crisp salad alongside and your dinner is ready to go. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to put together, so much so that you won't reserve a lamb shoulder just for special occasions—especially when you dive into the leftovers the next day. —The Editors
- Prep time 25 minutes
- Cook time 4 hours 15 minutes
- Serves 6 to 8
each sage, rosemary, thyme, and summer savory
freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons
(6-pound) bone-in lamb shoulder
- Heat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Finely chop the herbs. Using a mortar and pestle, coarsely grind the coriander seeds; transfer to a small bowl. Grind the garlic and salt; transfer to the same bowl. Mix in the herbs and black pepper. Drizzle in the oil to make a coarse paste.
- Trim the fat from the lamb. Rub with the herb paste on all sides. Place the lamb in a large cast-iron pot or roasting pan. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C). Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid (or with foil if using a roasting tray) and forget the lamb in the oven for 3 or 4 hours.
- The meat will fall off the bone, and it will be even more delicious reheated the next day.