Slow-roast Shoulder of Lamb with Palestinian Spices

This show-stopping roast is a great dish for entertaining. When slow-roasted in this way, the lamb becomes so meltingly soft that it falls off the bone, perfect for stuffing into pockets of flatbread alongside salads, yogurt and pickles, shawarma-style. Start it the night before, so the marinade has a chance to infuse the lamb. The pomegranate molasses will blacken a little in the oven, but don’t worry, that isn’t a sign that the meat is burning, it will still be utterly juicy and succulent under the crust.


  • Serves: 6 people


  • 2kg whole shoulder of lamb, on the bone
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 100ml unsweetened pomegranate molasses
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 25g coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped, plus more to serve
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sumac, plus more to serve
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of pomegranate seeds, to serve


  1. The day before you want to eat, place the lamb in a large roasting dish and slash the meat in a cross-hatch fashion on both sides, cutting deeply and right down to the bone.

  2. Mix the remaining ingredients together, except the pomegranate seeds, seasoning with 21/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub this marinade into the meat, then spend some time massaging it into all the little nooks and crannies. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate overnight.

  3. The next day, take the lamb out of the fridge 20 minutes before you cook it so it comes to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/Gas 3.

  4. Pour a mug of just-boiled water into the roasting dish, then place the lamb in the middle of the oven. After 30 minutes, cover it with foil to stop the edges burning and baste the meat every hour. Cook for about 4 hours. You’ll know it is ready when it is so soft that you can easily pull the meat from the bone.

  5. When the lamb is cooked, leave it to rest for 15 minutes. Scatter with pomegranate seeds and coriander just before serving, and have some sumac handy at the table.

Thanks to Yasmin Khan, Zaitoun, for sharing this recipe with us.

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