Shoulder of lamb with two heads of garlic

Shoulder of lamb with two heads of garlic

Margaret Fulton Favourites
Tanya Zouev and Armelle Habib

The secret to this recipe is the long, slow cooking on the bone together with the foil cover, and every time I make it I’m asked how it’s done. Cooking a shoulder of lamb for 3 hours makes the meat so tender that it almost pulls away from the bone in large pieces for serving, and the lamb juices give a delicious flavour to the potatoes baking underneath. The anchovies, garlic and vinegar work wonders, too. For a crowd, you can cook two shoulders in a bigger baking dish and increase the other ingredients. Cooking time will be the same.


Quantity Ingredient
1.5-2kg lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1kg potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
30g butter
2-3 whole heads of garlic
sprig fresh rosemary, broken into pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 cups water


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Rub lamb with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy baking dish on a moderate–high heat. Add lamb and brown all over. Lift out of the pan and place on a plate.
  2. Spread potato and onion slices in layers in the baking dish, topping with anchovy fillets, olive oil and butter, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove any excess papery skin from garlic and cut widthwise in halves. Push garlic among the potatoes and onions. Lay lamb on top, sprinkle with rosemary and vinegar and pour over the water.
  3. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 3 hours, removing foil halfway through cooking and reducing heat to 160°C.
  4. To serve, transfer lamb to a hot platter with the vegetables. Cut meat off in chunky pieces and give each person half a head of garlic from which they can scoop out the tender flesh to season the lamb. Serve with a green salad.


  • If you’ll be away from the kitchen for some time, cook lamb initially for 21⁄2 hours at 160°C, remove foil, then increase heat to 190°C to brown the edges of the potatoes and meat.
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