Lamb pairs brilliantly with the earthy, spicy, sweet flavours that typify Middle Eastern cookery, especially when roasted. Here a boneless shoulder has been used, but a boneless leg would work just as well. You could also use this stuffing for a roast chicken and serve it with the same rich, honeyed wine and onion sauce.






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (23 votes)


  • 1.8 kg lamb shoulder, boned



  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 60 g (½ cup) walnut pieces
  • 110 g (1½ cups) coarse bread crumbs made from day-old sourdough bread
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Turkish pepper pepper paste
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 75 g (½ cup) currants
  • 1 egg yolk
  • large handful flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped


Onion-honey sauce

  • 60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 onions (about 850g), halved and very finely sliced
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) red wine
  • 60 ml (¼ cup red wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock, preferable homemade

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 the oven to 200ºC.

To make the stuffing, place the walnuts in a small dish then roast for 7-8 minutes or until light golden. Cool and coarsely chop. Meanwhile, place the cumin seeds in a small, heavy-based frying pan over medium-low heat then dry-roast for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant then remove from the heat. Combine walnuts and cumin seeds with all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and use your hands to mix well. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Unroll the lamb shoulder and lay it out flat on a work surface, skin side down. Spread the stuffing all over the lamb then season well with salt and pepper. Roll the lamb up then use kitchen string to tie it at 2 cm intervals to form a neat shape. Rub the lamb all over with oil and season well with salt and pepper. Cook lamb for 20 minutes then reduce the oven to 180ºC and cook for another 1 hour or until lamb is cooked through but still a little pink in the middle. 

While the lamb is cooking, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onions then cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until very tender and caramelised. Add the red wine, honey and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium-low for 30 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by about half. 


Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.