This traditional Lebanese roast is stuffed with minced lamb, pine nuts, almonds, raisins, rice and festive spices. Traditionally a butterflied lamb shoulder with the neck attached is used, but alternatively a smaller lamb shoulder without the neck or a leg of lamb can be used as an alternative.






Skill level

Average: 2.7 (41 votes)


  • 1.8 kg butterflied lamb shoulder, with neck attached 
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion
  • 8 cloves


Spiced stuffing

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200 g minced lamb
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50 g (⅓ cup) pine nuts, toasted
  • 50 g (⅓ cup) blanched almonds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (see Note)
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 100 g (½ cup) Calasparra rice (see Note)

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.


Resting time 15 minutes
Drink match
2002 Juene Cabernet Carigan Cinsault ($70) or 2002 Hochar Pere et Fils ($37), both from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. If you prefer beer, try Almaza Pilsner ($3, 330ml).

To make stuffing, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add minced lamb and cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Stir in remaining ingredients and add 500 ml (2 cups) water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is almost tender and liquid has absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve half the stuffing and refrigerate until needed.

Lay lamb shoulder, skin-side down, on a work surface. Spoon remaining stuffing down the centre, carefully roll up end to enclose stuffing and tie with kitchen string.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat oil in a large, heavy-based roasting pan over medium heat. Season lamb and cook for 8 minutes, turning, or until browned all over. Remove from heat and add spices, onion studded with cloves and 1 litre water. Cover with foil and roast for 3 hours or until cooked through or cooked to your liking. Transfer to a platter, cover loosely with foil and rest for 15 minutes. 

Strain pan juices, discarding cinnamon and bay leaf, and reserving onion, if desired. Heat reserved stuffing. Serve roast lamb with pan juices, reserved stuffing and onion, if desired.


• Pomegranate molasses is available from delis and Middle Eastern food shops.
• Calasparra rice is available from delis and specialist food shops. Substitute arborio rice or another short-grain rice variety.



Photography by John Laurie.


As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.