Lemon-and-garlic scented lamb that’s falling off the bone is a wonderful thing. You can use other cuts of lamb, but the shoulder, when cooked long enough, is tender and sweet. Slow-cooked lamb is a great winter meal, but the Mediterranean feel of this dish also means it can be served on a warm Sunday afternoon. Use a pan that just fits the lamb, as it needs to steam in its own juices. I wrap mine in baking paper to ensure the best result.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (40 votes)


  • 1.7 kg lamb shoulder
  • extra virgin olive oil, to cook
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 10–12 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 100 g (scant ⅓ cup) green olives
  • roasted chat potatoes, roasted carrot paste and green salad, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat oven to 200°C. Trim excess fat from lamb and rub generously with oil. Season well with salt and pepper.

Tear off a piece of baking paper large enough to wrap the lamb. Place in a roasting pan, line it with half the lemon slices and scatter over half the garlic cloves and olives. Top with lamb, skin-side up, cover with remaining lemon slices and dot with remaining garlic and olives. Wrap the lamb tightly in the paper, season with salt, then cover tightly with foil or a lid.

Bake for about 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 140°C and bake for a further 2½ hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.

Serve lamb warm with roasted garlic, olives and lemon slices, and roasted potatoes and carrot paste, and a green salad.


Roasted carrot paste
Preheat oven to 220°C. Toss 4 peeled, roughly chopped carrots with a little olive oil, a few fennel seeds and season with salt and pepper. Place on an oven tray and roast, turning occasionally, for 40 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl and mash to a coarse paste, adding a little extra virgin olive oil to bring out the flavours. Serves 4 as a side dish.


Photography by Alan Benson