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Slow-roast shoulder of lamb with merguez spices

26th Apr

One of our lovely, loyal customers, Maria Hill from Hitcham, regularly shares pics of her delicious-looking, home cooked plates via Instagram – it’s a foodie account we love to follow. I’m still thinking about her perfectly cooked venison paired with ‘hassleback’ roast potatoes and beetroot with rosemary.  We asked Maria to kindly share a seasonal recipe with us and it’s too good not to share with you. Over to Maria…

I thought the recipe below would be something nice and seasonal.  It’s a great favourite of all my family and friends. In fact this can be eaten anytime of the year so a good recipe for people to have. It can be served as a roast with all the trimmings, but for this month I served it with roasted buttered new potatoes with mint, Asparagus and Couscous with chopped apricots.

I would also recommend having wraps, salad, pomegranate molasses and pomegranate seeds on the side with the lamb platter.  Great for people to help themselves and mix and match!

Please don’t be put off by the long list of spices required – buy them once and you will have them for when you cook the dish again which I guarantee you will do. The spices are also handy to have for making curries!

Here goes…

Slow-roast shoulder of lamb with merguez spices (courtesy of River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)

Shoulder of Lamb

For the spice paste:
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ cinnamon stick broken up
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli powder
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
Leaves from 2 large rosemary sprigs finely chopped
2 teaspoons seat salt
3 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220˚c/gas mark 7
  2. If you have time toast the cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon and peppercorns in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a minute or so.
  3. Crush to a coarse powder using a pestle and mortar and combine with the cayenne (or chilli powder), paprika, garlic, rosemary, salt and olive oil.
  4. Lightly score the skin of the meat, making shallow slashes just a few millimetres deep and 1-2cm apart.  Rub half the spice paste all over the lamb, underneath as well as on top, especially in the cuts.
  5. Put into a large roasting tin and roast for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and rub the remaining spice paste over the top of the meat using the back of a wooden spoon.
  7. Pour a glass of water into the tin (NOT over the meat), cover with foil and return to the oven.
  8. Reduce the heat to 120˚c/gas mark 1 and cook for 6 hours or until the meat is very tender and falling off the bone.  You can add another glass of water halfway through to keep the pan juices ticking along.
  9. Transfer the lamb to a warm serving plate.
  10. Skim the excess fat off the juices, tear the meat into shreds and serve with the juices spooned over.


Just in case you wanted a sweet seasonal treat what could be more delicious than a rhubarb crumble cake for dessert or afternoon tea.  I was inspired by the amazing rhubarb at Hollow Trees.

Rhubarb Crumble Cake 

250g pack of butter, softened
250g golden caster sugar plus 1 tbsp
2tsp vanilla extract
5 large eggs
300g plain flour plus 7 tbsp
2tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
300g rhubarb, washed, trimmed and finely sliced


  1. Pre-heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and grease and line the base and sides of a deep 20cm round cake time with a little of the butter and baking parchment.
  2. Put the butter, 250g sugar and vanilla into a big mixing bowl.  Beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then fold in 300g flour and baking powder.  Spoon out 85g of the batter and stir the extra 7 tbsp flour and cinnamon into this with a knife or use your fingers so It becomes crumbly.
  4. Fold the rhubarb into the rest of the cake batter and scrape into the prepared tin.
  5. Scatter over the crumble mix followed by 1 tbsp sugar.
  6. Bake for 1hr 15 or until a skewer poked in comes out clean.  If the cake is browning too much lay a sheet of foil on top.
  7. Cool for 15mins and then finish on a wire rack

Delicious on its own, with cream or custard!

Thank you so much for sharing these recipes, Maria.