This North African dish found in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria tends to vary in each country, but generally involves a whole lamb or sheep being spit-roasted or roasted underground for a festive occasion. Traditionally, the entire beast is consumed, including the organs, with parts such as the liver, kidney and eyes reserved for the guests of honour. While traditionally the entire animal is roasted, for convenience, we’ve used a lamb shoulder, oven-roasted with signature North African spices. You can cook this using a spit-roast, if you prefer.






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (158 votes)


  • 1½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2.5 kg lamb shoulder, bone in
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted, roughly ground
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • bread and orange wedges, 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 140°C. Combine spices, garlic and butter in a bowl. Rub mixture all over lamb and season with salt. Completely enclose lamb in two large sheets of foil and place in a deep roasting pan. Roast for 8 hours or until meat is meltingly tender and comes away easily from the bone.

Combine cumin seeds and sea salt in a small bowl. Shred lamb into large pieces and serve with cumin salt, bread and orange wedges.



Photography Brett Stevens. Food preparation Leanne Kitchen and Phoebe Wood. Styling Vivien Walsh.


As seen in Feast magazine, November 2014, Issue 37.