Roast shoulder of lamb with rosemary, and harissa recipe (2024)

Dinner · Lamb · Recipes



Roast shoulder of lamb with rosemary, and harissa recipe (1)

When it comes to roasting an expensive leg of lamb I tend to be quite stuck in my ways. The recipe I love and always turn to is Jamie Oliver’s four-hour shoulder of lamb from his book ‘JamieAt Home’, and it’s perfect in its simplicity. Other than the delicious flavour of rosemary and garlic, which is excellent with lamb, it’s the method that I am particularly fond of. Whether you roast a shoulder or a leg, the outcome is the most succulent fall-off the bone meatimaginable. It also requires so little effort it literally cooks itself.

Roast shoulder of lamb with rosemary, and harissa recipe (2)

This is Easter I decided to cook a stunning leg of Karoo lamb that I had in the freezer and I also decided for the first time ever to tweak the recipe slightly. I added lemon and a light layer of harissa paste to the lamb along with the rosemary and garlic. I also kept the temperature at its hottest for 5 minutes before turning it down. Jamie turns it down immediately after putting the lamb in. I had a large joint and I wanted to ensure it was well sealed.

To add to my Easter feastI made my cauliflower ‘couscous’ to which I added a smattering of chilli, finely chopped coriander and preserved lemon. I roasted halved fingerling new potatoes with thyme until golden and crispy.

I char grilled wedges of aubergine before finishing them off in the oven at 200C for a quick roast, and grilled slices of zucchini for the salad.

The inspiration for the salad I made with a delicious wedge of Brie cheese comes from Camilla Comins from the Restaurant at Overgaauw. We had it at our last lunch there. She made her fabulous version with roasted aubergine and Brie on a bed of mixed leaves – which sadly aren’t available to purchase retail. I loved the combination. I added cherry and rosa tomatoes and mixed leaves with basil and served it with my favourite vinaigrette.

I can hardly believe Easter has been and gone and I do hope you had a good one if you take a break. I also can’t believe I’m making plans for the middle of the year. My next two months are going to be crazy busy, but I am still hoping to keep the recipes flowing here.

**PS ~ Im adding this in after the fact because a friend made this lamb last night at a dinner party I attended and the lemons imparted a very bitter note to the sauce at the end. I was rather disappointed in this because we loved the lemon flavour in my recipe. I can only think that the lemons were a little underripe. So a word of caution, use very ripe sweeter lemons. Meyer if you can, or omit them completely.

Roast shoulder of lamb with rosemary, garlic, harissa and lemon

Slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with rosemary, garlic, harissa, and lemon.

Print Recipe

Roast shoulder of lamb with rosemary, and harissa recipe (10)

Prep Time:10 minutes mins

Cook Time:4 hours hrs


  • 1 shoulder of lamb – 2 – 2.5kg
  • 2 T harissa paste
  • Olive oil
  • A handful of rosemary stalks
  • 2 whole heads of garlic
  • 2 lemons cut in half
  • Salt and pepper


  • Preheat the oven to the highest it will go.

  • Prepare the lamb by slashing through any fat if there is, but not penetrating the meat. Smear the harissa paste over the meat and season with salt and pepper.

  • Cut a head of garlic in half sideways and place at the bottom of a large oven dish with sides along with half the rosemary and one of the cut lemons. Place the joint on top of this, which forms a flavour bed on which the meat roasts. Break the cloves of the other head of garlic and scatter these around and on top of the meat along with the rest of the rosemary.

  • Drizzle olive oil over the top.

  • Tightly seal the whole tray with heavy-duty aluminum foil ensuring it is completely sealed.

  • Place in the hot oven and leave for 5 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 170C and leave it to roast for 4 hours. Do not open and check the meat. Just leave it.

  • After 4 hours remove and let the meat rest, covered for about 20 minutes before carving and serving. It literally falls off the bone.

  • If you wanted to make gravy, remove the meat and skim off any fat. Heat the pan juices with some lamb stock allowing it to thicken slightly, and then pour over the meat.


For a more traditional slow roast shoulder of lamb, leave out the lemon and harissa and simply roast with loads of garlic and rosemary.

Servings: 4

Author: Sam Linsell


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Roast shoulder of lamb with rosemary, and harissa recipe (2024)


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