Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Merguez Spices

This slow roasted lamb shoulder recipe again uses part of our half lamb we received from Lau Family Farms. The shoulders we received were conveniently cut in half so we didn’t have to spend two weeks trying to finish off all the meat. Also, don’t be afraid if there’s quite a bit of fat on your cut. You can have between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. It will just add flavor. I absolutely loved this recipe and this cut of meat. It’s wonderful when you get tectonic shifts between your layers of meat, fat, and bone. You know that your roast is going to be flavorful and delicious.

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Merguez Spices


  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • Leaves from 2 large rosemary sprigs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lamb shoulder, on the bone


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • In a skillet, toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon, black peppercorns over medium high heat for a minute or so, until they are fragrant.
  • In a small grinder, grind the toasted spices along with the cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and rosemary.
  • Once the spices are thoroughly ground, mix them together with the garlic, salt, and olive oil to form a paste.
  • Lightly score the skin of the meat with a sharp knife, making swallow slashes about 1/8 inch deep.
  • Rub half the spice paste all over the lamb shoulder, especially into the cuts.
  • Put the lamb shoulder into a covered roasting pan, and roast for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the lamb shoulder from the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 250 degrees F. Rub the remaining spice paste over the meat using the back of a spoon.
  • Pour 1 cup of water into the pan, avoiding the meat so as to not wash off any of the spices.
  • Returned the covered lamb shoulder to the oven and cook for 6 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.
  • Check occasionally to make sure the roasting pan isn’t dry. Add more water as needed.
  • Transfer the lamb to a warm serving plate. Pour the juices over the lamb and serve.


  • Merquez is a red, spicy lamb or beef sausage in North African cuisine. Original recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Every Day.

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