the perfect roast for beginners [5 ingredients | 360 minutes]

pot roast lamb shoulder with lemon, feta & olives pot roast lamb shoulder with lemon, feta & olives

Roast lamb.

Such a classic dish, particularly around Easter time – but one that can be a little daunting if you haven’t tackled roasting a whole hunk of meat before.

Now my friends, do I have a treat for you. We’re talking a super simple pot roast. A dish that takes about 10 minutes to get ready then you just pop it in the oven and leave it be for 360 minutes – or 6 hours. Check it once or twice and wait until the meat is moist and super tender – so tender you can literally cut it with a spoon.

There are many benefits to this pot roast. It’s almost too beautiful for words.

1. You’re cooking the meat covered with a little liquid so there’s no risk that it’s going to dry out.
2. The low temperature means the meat is not going to overcook and be tough.
3. The window of when the meat is ‘done’ is nice and big. So half an hour either way won’t make a big difference. Perfect for entertaining when you can’t rely on your guests to be on time.
4. It is the most succulent, moist lamb. Ever.
5. The lemon cooks down with the pan juices to give a lovely lemony ready made sauce.
6. It’s using shoulder of lamb which is cheaper than a leg.
7. It can be made ahead and reheated easily.

So if you haven’t cooked roast lamb before, now is the time to start. Even if you’re an old hand at the subtle art of roasting, I’m sure you’ll love this dish just as much as me.
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pot roast lamb shoulder with lemon, feta & olives

[5 ingredients]
pot roast lamb with feta & olives

serves 4

Inspired by the lovely Sal and my Melbournian Greek-at-heart friend Kate and her mate George.

You could substitute in ground coriander seeds – I was just being a little lazy. And buttery Sicilian olives would be my pick.

Serve on a bed of wilted greens such as spinach or silverbeet and if you’re feeling up for it, some spuds roasted with rosemary & garlic – preferably in duck fat. So good.

Next time I’d double the recipe and cook 2 shoulders at once. The best leftovers ever – thinking a lamb sandwich with chutney & rocket, or a lamb ragu with pasta or even a filling for a decadent pot pie. Trust me, you won’t have any problems getting rid of the lamb.

And I wasn’t kidding about the 360 minutes. You’re going to need a whole 6 hours for this dish but it only takes 10 minutes of active cooking time. The rest is letting the slow oven work its magic while you get on with your day.

2 lemons, thickly sliced crosswise
1 small shoulder lamb, bone in (approx 1.4kg or 3lb)
1T corriander seeds
200g feta, crumbled
large handful green olives

Preheat oven to 170C or 340F (if your oven is fan forced reduce the heat to 150C / 300F).

Place sliced lemons in the base of a cast iron pot or casserole dish large enough to hold the lamb snugly. Add 1/2C water. Rub lamb with olive oil, salt & pepper and place on top of the lemons. Sprinkle over coriander seeds and cover tightly with foil and a lid – if you have one.

Bake for 3 hours. Reduce heat by 20C / 40F and cook for another 3 hours or until lamb can literally be cut with a spoon. Keep warm.

When you’re ready to serve pop the feta an olives in with the lamb and bring to a simmer on the stove top.

Shred lamb from the bone and serve with the lemony pan juices topped with the feta and olives.
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pot roast lamb shoulder with lemon, feta & olives


[5 ingredients | 10 minutes]
wilted greens

serves 4 as an accompaniment

Nutmeg may seem a little weird but it’s a traditional companion with spinach, especially when it’s wilted.

If you need to cater for vegetarians, you could serve them these wilted greens with a fried egg topped with some of the feta and olives.

1 bunch silverbeet or 2 bunches english spinach
generous knob of butter
freshly grated nutmeg, optional

Place a large saucepan over a high heat.

Wash leaves well, trim stalks and discard and cut the leaves into wide ribbons about 2cm (1in) thick.

Place butter and leaves in the pan and cover . Cook for a minute or so then stir and keep cooking until the greens are just wilted.

roast potatoes with garlic & rosemary

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{ 21 comments }

Mark @ Cafe Campana March 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Great recipe Jules. I have cooked a similar pot roast before and it was delicious. Slow cooked meat you can cut with a spoon is one of the best bits of winter.

Elizabeth@obcookie March 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Looks totally delicious! I love the slow braise and the crunch of the olive beside it–what a great contrast in flavors.

Cam Withers March 30, 2010 at 4:01 am

Will definitely try this one Clancy. It looks great. The Ragu and chutney sanwiches with the left-overs sound even better than eating it freshly cooked.

jules March 30, 2010 at 8:27 am

thanks mark – totally agree – it’s things like this that make the thought of winter bearable

you’re right elizabeth – the feta and olives make all the difference in bringing the lamb alive

hey cam – you’d love this – even better than the shoulder I cooked for you and Jana when you were in town. and you’re right the leftover possiblities are as good if not better than the original

Aime March 30, 2010 at 10:55 am

Pot Roast to me is always a tough nasty hunk of beef — really hate it! But lamb — now you’re talking! thanks!!!

Claire March 30, 2010 at 11:06 am

Lovely lovely lovely! And I have a shoulder of lamb in the freezer just begging to be turned into something delicious – would it work with a leg as well? or does it need the fat from the shoulder?
I almost always pot roast my chickens now – too tasty, plus if you do as many carrots as you can fit in the pot they’re almost the best bit!

cityhippyfarmgirl March 30, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I have always been a little daunted at cooking a whole hunk of meat before. Too much room for stuff ups- but this I think I could handle. Looks lovely.
Congratulations on your cook book coming out too- you must be super excited!

Lisa March 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm

wow this DOES look particularly delightful! I think this would make a PERFECT easter lunch :) Thanks for sharing!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 30, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I’ve cooked so many roast chooks, and I love lamb but have strangely never actually cooked a roast of it! This looks like the perfect recipe to start my roast lamb education on. The shoulder is such a great cut – so tender and tasty after slow cooking, and a steal too!

jules March 31, 2010 at 9:37 am

conor – never roasted lamb?? what have you been doing with yourself??

lisa – you’re right – it would make a perfect easter lunch

cityhippyfarmgirl – if you’re ever going to try cooking a hunk of meat – this is the perfect place to start – it’s a really forgiving dish. and thanks about the book – it is really exciting

claire
it would be fine for a leg – but the meat won’t be as fatty – which might be a good thing for some people. defintely need to try pot roasting a chook with lots of carrots – thanks for the tip.

aime
am sure there are good versions of pot roast beef – but I’d prefer lamb as well

olive.a.twist (food.wine.science) March 31, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Jules – have been a little pork centric today but on reading this, it could well be lamb for dinner!

jules April 1, 2010 at 8:32 am

rebecca
I know how seductive the sweet sweet pig can be. hope you enjoy the lamb

amber April 2, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I started this off at lunchtime today and served it for dinner with roasted vegetables at 7.00 pm. I roasted a leg and was able to flake the meat from the bone with a dessert spoon. There were no leftovers. :D

kathy April 3, 2010 at 3:35 am

It looks appetizing. I will try this later for dinner. Thanks! :-)

notmensa April 3, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Oh wow!! I read your blog for the first time last night and fell in love….

The lamb (leg, I couldn’t get a shoulder at my local shop) has been in the oven for 1.5 hrs. Smells fantastic already!!

jules April 3, 2010 at 7:16 pm

amber
thanks for letting me know – glad it works well for leg as well.

thanks kathy & notmensa

Laur April 5, 2010 at 7:25 am

Jules, thank you. Thank you very much. It was delicious (and my girlfriend agrees wholeheartedly).

I think this might just become an Easter tradition ;)

Lisa April 6, 2010 at 6:58 am

what a great looking cookbook! I’ll check it out next time I go to the bookstore!

Jen April 7, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Jules this roast was amazing. I am with you – next time it is two at the same time. We devoured so much on the first sitting and then polished off the left overs the following day and I ‘don’t do cold lamb’ but this was sensational. Will be repeated at my house several times this winter I’m sure. Thank you – great share. Jennifer

Lucent Imagery May 14, 2010 at 9:23 am

I get the giggles when I remember the first time my husband and I (back then, boyfriend and newly living together) made our first roast. We didn’t know what we were doing and the oven was very powerful so we ended up eating takeaway that night! I think that’s why I’ve been nervous to do a full scale roast since. However, I will definitely be trying this recipe, it looks so easy. Thanks Jules!

Astrid December 13, 2010 at 12:26 am

Jules
Just made the roasted lamb – Wow, another great recipe. Thank you! I added potatoes, carrots, and onion with an hour left to go instead of the olives and feta. With the left overs, I’ll make sheppard pie. http://carfreeinannarbor.blogspot.com/2010/12/lamb-shoulder-roast.html

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