Lamb shoulder with herbs and preserved lemons

  • 6-8
  • 3 hours 30 minutes plus overnight marinating, if possible
Not yet rated

This slow roast lamb dish is perfect for a weekend lunch - lamb shoulder is cooked slowly in a paste of herbs, spices and preserved lemons. Serve with grains or crushed new potatoes

This recipe is taken from Home Food by Olia Hercules (Published by Bloomsbury Publishing, July 2022)

First published in 2022

Olia says: "I had to go back to work when my son Sasha was six months old. I was lucky that a friend of mine, Rachel Sweetapple, ran a catering business from her house only two streets away from our rented flat. I would go and help her prep, and my mum, who would sometimes be looking after the baby, could pop in whenever Sash needed a feed. We often made a version of this lamb for Rachel’s clients and I have been making it for friends and family ever since. In fact this is my go-to for dinner parties and Easter. The marinade ingredients might" "sound fusion-y and improbable, but they work so well. When you pull the lamb and mix it through the marinade juices, it’s just incredible. This recipe is fantastic for using up tired, soft fridge-forgotten herbs: feel free to use any, such as parsley, chives and basil. Serve it with any grain, too – I like couscous or freekeh – but any slightly plain carb that can soak up the sauce is good: rice, boiled and crushed potatoes, flatbreads… you name it. Lamb shanks or pork or beef ribs will also work here if you want something smaller or cheaper than a lamb shoulder!"






Preheat the oven to 200°C fan


Put all the ingredients (bar a handful of soft herbs and the lamb) into a food processor, add ½ tsp salt and blitz them up into a paste. Cover the lamb with it. If you can leave it in the marinade overnight, all the better, but if you don’t have time, it is ready to be baked straight away


Put the lamb and marinade into a cast-iron pan and cover it with a lid. Otherwise, especially if you are using a shoulder, you can also use a roasting tin and cover it tightly with a foil tent (just use 2 large pieces of foil and tent them over the meat without touching it). Cook for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 160°C fan and cook for another 2 hours. Then lift the lid or foil off and have a look. The meat should be soft and coming away from the bone. If it is not quite there, cover it again and put it back in for another 30 minutes. Be careful not to dry out the lamb and keep checking, as a shoulder can take up to 3½ hours


Take the lamb out of the oven, cover and rest in its juices for at least 20 minutes


Pull the meat off the bone, discard the bones and large bits of fat, roughly shred larger pieces, then return to the tin. Taste, it may need a light sprinkling of salt


If the lamb has been resting a while, you can pop it and the juices in the roasting tin under a hot grill to warm through and crisp up the meat on top


You can shred the lamb and mix it with the juices up to a day before and keep in the fridge, then just reheat in a lidded pan with a splash of water mixed in, or in a foil baking tray, before serving. Serve with any plain grain you fancy, or even crushed boiled potatoes, sprinkling over the reserved herbs

Olia Hercules is a Ukranian chef, food writer and food stylist based in London.

Get in touch

Please sign in or register to send a comment to Great British Chefs.