Slow-Baked Lamb with Cumin and Coriander

Rachel Allen's lamb needs very little attention for the four hours it's in the oven, making it the perfect dish for a lazy Sunday
By Rachel Allen
Slow-Baked Lamb with Cumin and Coriander
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 12-15
  • Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the lamb

  • 1 x 3 kg shoulder of lamb
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 900 ml lamb or chicken stock, for the gravy

For the roasted root vegetables

  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celeriac
  • 1 swede
  • 1 large sweet potatoes
  • 60-75 ml olive oil

For the raita

  • 500 ml plain natural yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, deseeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • large bunch mint or coriander, chopped

Tips and Suggestions

to toast spice seeds, fry them in a dry pan for 30 seconds over a medium-high heat until deeper in colour and smelling fragrant (keep moving them around).

If you have any leftover meat, reheat it in an ovenproof dish covered in gravy so that the meat doesn't dry out.


1. For the lamb: preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7.

2. Using a very sharp knife, make long but shallow incisions into the shoulder of lamb all over the skin. In a small bowl, mix the ground cumin and coriander with a few good pinches of sea salt, pepper and the olive oil. Spread this spicy oil over the lamb, rubbing it in with your fingers, then place the lamb skin-side up on a roasting tray. Sprinkle the skin with salt.

3. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 160C/gas 3 and roast for 4 hours. Baste it every 15 minutes or so by spooning the juices over the meat. The cooking time will, of course, depend on the size of the shoulder, but when it's cooked the meat will be very tender and almost falling off the bone in the most gorgeous way.

4. For the roasted root vegetables: about 20 minutes before the meat is due to come out of the oven, peel the vegetables and cut into 2cm cubes. Dry the cut vegetables with kitchen paper, then put them in a bowl and toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. The vegetables should all be coated with a thin layer of oil.

5. Spread them out in a single layer on one or two roasting trays and cook in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until golden on the outside and soft on the inside. Do not try to turn them while they are cooking as they will only lift off the tray when they are fully cooked.

6. When the lamb is ready, transfer the meat to a serving platter, cover and keep warm while you make the gravy.

7. To make the gravy, put the roasting tray on the hob on a medium heat, add half the stock and bring to the boil, whisking to release the sweet juicy bits that have stuck to the tray. When it comes to the boil, pour it into a mais-gras or a small bowl or heatproof jug. If using a jug/bowl add one or two ice cubes to draw the fat up to the top, then you can spoon the fat off and discard. If using a mais-gras, degrease the juices in the usual way.

8. Pour the degreased juices into a small saucepan, add the remainder of the stock, bring to the boil and season to taste. If it's a little watery, boil it for another couple of minutes.

9. For the raita: mix all the ingredients and season.

10. To serve, cut the meat into slices and pour over the gravy. Spoon on the roast vegetables and serve the raita on the side.

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