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Recipe: Slow cooked lamb shoulder with garlic, herbs and lemon

In an extract from her new cookbook, A House Party in Tuscany, inspired by her family's hilltop farmhouse, Amber Guinness presents a recipe for slow-cooked lamb, perfect for a long and lazy Sunday lunch

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By House & Garden | May 21, 2022 | Recipes

The key to this dish is the lemon juice, which cuts through the fattiness of the lamb. It is also imperative to seal in the juices as efficiently as possible, so that they do not escape and evaporate during the long, slow roasting. The recipe originally comes from my husband’s mother, a very good cook, who uses oregano as the main herb. I have adapted it slightly to feature rosemary and thyme, which grow more abundantly here at Arniano.

This is an edited extract from ‘A House Party in Tuscany’ by Amber Guinness


  • 1.2-1.5kg lamb shoulder
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthways
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthways
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves only, finely chopped
  • Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves only
  • 3 lemons, juice


Step 1

Find a rectangular roasting pan big enough for the shoulder and position with the longest edge facing you. Lay two long sheets of foil (long enough to wrap around the lamb) across the narrow width of the roasting pan, slightly overlapping them to prevent any juices escaping as the meat cooks. Stand the foil up along the sides of the pan, ready to be folded over the lamb to form a sealed parcel. To prevent the meat sticking to the foil, place a long sheet of baking parchment lengthways across the base of the foil-covered pan.

Step 2

Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper. Using a very sharp knife, and being careful not to cut straight through the meat to the other side, make 10-15 incisions all over the lamb. Stuff each one with half a garlic clove. Put any additional garlic at the bottom of the pan with a pinch of salt and sit the lamb on top.

Step 3

Drizzle the olive oil over the lamb, then add the rosemary and thyme, and rub all over the meat. Pour over most of the lemon juice, allowing it to run into the incisions.

Step 4

Add 50ml water to the pan, then bring the edges of the foil up and over the lamb, and seal. Cover the pan with another layer of foil. Leave to marinate for a minimum of 2 hours, or in the fridge overnight.

Step 5

Preheat the oven to 140°C/120°C fan oven/mark 1. If you have left the lamb in the fridge, take it out 1 hour before cooking so that it comes up to room temperature.

Step 6

Roast the lamb for 3½ hours, until very tender, checking occasionally to make sure the juices have not escaped. If they have, carefully unseal the foil, add a little water and the rest of lemon juice, then reseal.

Step 7

At the end of the roasting time, remove from the oven and turn the heat up to 200°C/180°C fan oven/mark 6. Unwrap the parcel and fold back the foil, then baste with the juices from the pan. Return to the oven for 20 minutes until browned. Remove and leave to rest for 30 minutes before serving on the bone with the juices.

This article was originally published on House & Garden UK

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