slow roast shoulder of lamb with anchovy, rosemary and lemon zest

okay, i don't know how to rotate this picture. that makes me a bit stupid but i ahve tried everything.
i stole the recipe shamelessly from the chocolate and zucchini blog ( it's one of my favourites - it makes you realise the skill and attention to detail that you need to put into running a proper blog. very much unlike this thing, with its typos and random formatting.

you must forgive me for the former though - i am typing this lying down, with the small laptop propped up ingeniously on a couple of pillows, and almost entirely with one hand. i have, yet again, done my back in spectacularly - this time warranting a caudal epidural. don't ask. suffice it to say it involved a big needle.

anyway, this is a great recipe and i've made it twice already. every time we've been so eager to tuck in that i forgot to take a photo of the whole thing, as it comes out of the oven. so, instead, you have a half-devoured piece of meat, with only the tomatoes still intact.

there is something about the salty anchovies which, i promise, you can't taste once it's cooked, and the acidy bite of tomatoes cutting through all that fat.

i cut and paste from the original, as typing with one hand is a pain in the backside. the picture you see is of a half shoulder as there were only two of us, so i just halved the quantities.

Epaule d'Agneau Frottée au Romarin, Anchois et Zeste de Citron

For the seasoning paste:
- 1 bushy sprig of fresh rosemary (you can substitute 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, but fresh really is preferable)
- 1 organic lemon
- 10 filets of anchovies packed in olive oil, drained
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled, germ removed if any
- 2 teaspoons whole mustard seeds
- A few generous grinds of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons olive oil

For the meat:
- 2.2 kg (5 pounds) bone-in shoulder of lamb (depending on the size of the animal, this may amount to one large shoulder, or 1 1/2 small shoulders)
- 8 small ripe tomatoes, about 650g (1 1/3 pounds)
- 4 cloves garlic, still in the last layer of their papery sheath

Serves 6 to 8.

Pluck the needles of rosemary and discard the tough central stem (you can leave it to dry and use it as a skewer on a later occasion). Peel the zest of the lemon using a zester or a simple vegetable peeler (save the naked lemon for another use).

In the bowl of a mini-chopper or blender, combine the rosemary, lemon zest, anchovies, peeled garlic, mustard seeds, pepper, vinegar, and oil. Pulse until the mixture turns into a coarse paste, scraping the sides of the bowl regularly.

Place the meat in a baking dish large enough to accommodate it, and rub in the seasoning paste, taking care to spread it well, and on all sides. (Clean your hands meticulously before and after the rubbing.) Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably 3 or 4.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to bring it back to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F). Remove the plastic wrap from the baking dish. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves and the tomatoes, cored and halved, slipping them under and around the meat, wherever you can.

Place the dish in the oven to cook for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 130°C (270°F) and cook for another 2 1/2 hours, basting and flipping the meat every 30 minutes or so. Cover with a sheet of foil if it seems to brown too quickly.


  1. Errors and all, I still love your blog and it is on my list of must read blogs. I just came over from Art DeVany's blog and he has some you're in good company. Thanks for blogging.

  2. thank you, that's very kind of you. particularly nice to hear at the moment as i am losing the willl to live somewhat, due to a bad back!

  3. OurOldFriendtheElephant11 September 2010 at 19:29

    Great great dish but the photo doesn't do it justice

  4. We're only using a 1.2kg half shoulder - how long should we cook this for?

  5. hi jas,

    sorry, this is probably way way too late. but with a 1.2 kg shoulder, i would cook it for maybe an hour and a half at first and then check it. if it doesn't look like the meat will come away from the bone - prod it with a knife and fork, you'll be able to tell relatively easily, i think - put it back it but keen checking every half an hour. ho[e that helps.


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