Cooking a large joint of meat can sometimes be a daunting task. However, this slow cooker lamb shoulder recipe is easy to prepare and virtually guaranteed to produce meat which is tender, juicy and full of flavour.
Serve the lamb with fresh vegetables, crispy potatoes and a fruity red wine gravy to make the perfect Sunday roast!
Whenever we plan a Sunday roast, for some reason lamb always seems to be further down the list than beef or chicken. Then we cook it, and we always say “this is amazing, why don’t we eat more lamb?!”.
If you’ve read our slow cooker roast beef recipe, you’ll know that we’re not shy about telling you that we Brits can make a mean roast dinner. In case you hadn’t realised, that applies to beef, pork, chicken…and obviously lamb!
How to slow cook lamb shoulder
Start by preparing a bed of vegetables and rosemary in the bottom of the crockpot. This adds lots of flavour to the meat whilst it’s cooking, and will be used to make the gravy once the meat is cooked.
The key to beautiful tasting lamb in the slow cooker is to give this amazing cut of meat the love it deserves before any cooking starts.
Use a small sharp knife to poke holes into the meat at regular intervals, and push in a small spring of rosemary and a slice of a garlic clove.
Season the meat well (really well!), and place it into the slow cooker on top of the chopped vegetables.
Add the stock and wine by pouring it down the side of the slow cooker rather than over the top of the meat. This will avoid washing away the seasoning from the top of the lamb.
The meat needs to be sat in the liquid. If it appears to be sitting too high, dig out some of the vegetables and place them around the side of the meat so the lamb sits lower down.
Ideally the stock should be around half way up the shoulder of lamb. Add more wine and stock in a 2/3 stock to 1/3 wine ratio if you need to.
After the meat is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker and transfer it to your favourite roasting tin.
Blasting it it in the oven for 20 minutes at a high heat will brown the outside of the lamb. The browning is caused by the maillard reaction, and adds loads of extra flavour that you won’t want to miss out on! Whilst your roast potatoes are cooking is the perfect time to do this.
We love to serve slow cooked lamb shoulder in the middle of the table, still in one piece, with plenty of vegetables scattered around the roasting tray.
Let people help themselves. Rustic is definitely the way forward with lamb shoulder!
Why cook lamb shoulder in the slow cooker?
- It tastes amazing. Lamb shoulder is a tough piece of meat due to the use the muscle gets. Cooking it in the slow cooker breaks down the connecting tissues of the meat, leaving you with an amazingly succulent dinner.
- It’s good value. A 2kg lamb shoulder will cost around £20 ($25), and will easily serve six people with some left over for sandwiches the following day!
- It’s forgiving. It’s incredibly difficult to overcook lamb in the slow cooker, meaning it’s a great recipe to leave on all day without having to worry about it.
What trimmings should I serve with lamb?
The usual roast dinner trimmings go well with roast lamb. When we cooked this recipe we served rosemary roasted potatoes, parsnips and carrots.
Depending on your taste, you could also consider:
- Carrot and swede mash
- Curly kale
- Cauliflower cheese
Whatever you do, don’t forget mint sauce!
Slow Cooker Lamb Shoulder
- 2 kg lamb shoulder
- 500 ml lamb stock
- 250 ml red wine
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- 4 garlic cloves – sliced lengthways
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 1 tsp blackcurrant jam
- 1 large onion – chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 large carrot – chopped
- Add the chopped veg and a sprig of rosemary to the slow cooker. Sprinkle over 3 tbsp of cornflour.
- Using a small sharp knife, poke holes in the lamb at regular intervals. Press in a small sprig of rosemary and a slice of a garlic clove into each hole. Season the lamb well with salt and pepper.
- Place the lamb shoulder into the slow cooker, and pour the stock and wine down the sides, taking care not to wash the seasoning off of the top of the lamb. Check that the lamb is sat in the liquid (approximately a half to two-thirds covered), and if not dig out some of the vegetables and place them around the side of the meat so that it sits lower. If required, add more stock and wine using the ratio of two parts stock to one part wine. You do not need to submerge the lamb in liquid.
- Cook on low for five and a half hours or four on high (see recipe notes regarding cooking times as it can vary depending on your model of slow cooker). Once cooked, remove the lamb, place it a roasting dish, and cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 190°C. Whilst the lamb is cooking in the oven, prepare the gravy.
- Following cooking the lamb there will be a lot of fat sat on top of the gravy in the slow cooker. Use a meat baster to remove it (transfer it to a bowl and bin it once cooled, don't put it down the drain).
- If you have a sear and stew slow cooker, transfer the pot to the hob, or transfer the contents of the slow cooker to a pan if not. Add a further tbsp of cornflour. Do this by removing a few tbsp of liquid into a mug, stirring in the cornflour to create a slurry, and stirring it back into the gravy.
- Bring the gravy to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add a tsp of blackcurrant jam, then check the thickness, and reduce further, if required.
- Check the seasoning, then serve by pouring through a colander into a gravy jug, or without a colander if you prefer to keep the vegetables in the gravy.