Praise the Lord – It’s Spiced Shoulder of Spring Lamb with Flatbreads.

Spiced shoulder of lamb (19 of 21)Spring is a bit of a cures. It certainly is a bane if you happen to be a lamb. Easter, that very Christian celebration loomed very early this year and the vast bulk of the youthful sheep population trembled in fear. They were in fear because every God-fearing family in Christendom must have a leg of lamb on the table on Easter Sunday. The little darlings went to meet their maker leaving the butchers of Christendom scratching their heads, wondering how they were going to offload the rest of the beast. Easter is now a distant memory but the butchers of Ireland still have to do something with the spring lambs that have been arriving as nature intended, even if that’s too late for a very early Easter celebration. Their arrival made even later by a very late start to spring weather.

Regular readers know that I have cooked leg of lamb every which way. I probably have shown you more ways to prepare a lamb shoulder than God might have intended. But, given the opportunity to get my hands on a couple of spring lamb shoulders, I couldn’t resist just one more option. So I give you Spiced Shoulder of Spring Lamb with Flatbreads.

This is not a subtle dish. But, given that I have probably insulted every practicing Christian this side of Jerusalem, there is no need of be understated in our flavours.

The only subtle thing here is the delicious olive oil.

The only subtle thing here is the delicious olive oil.

Side note on olive oil: A good friend of mine distributes the lovely Bella D’Olivia oil in the United States. I am undoubtedly the only person in Europe with this lovely subtle oil. Given the huge range of flavours, I probably could have used a lower quality oil but, the picture would not have looked so good, would it?

The ingredients list is everything in the shot above and two lamb shoulders.2 spring lamb shoulders

  • 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons of mixed peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons of cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Olive oil to combine

Slice the shoulders through the fat and any membrane without cutting too deeply into the flesh. Toast the caraway seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and peppercorns in a dry pan. Tossing them as they release wonderful aromas heavenwards.

The heavenly smells will convert anybody to this dish.

The heavenly smells will convert anybody to this dish.

Grind the toasted ones in a mortar and add them to the other spice ingredients in a bowl. Add enough olive oil to make a nice thick paste.

Spiced shoulder of lamb (7 of 21)

This is a heavenly combination. I pray that you try it for yourself.

Rub the shoulders with the spice mix.

Spiced shoulder of lamb (9 of 21)

The turmeric makes it essential to wear gloves.

The shoulders take on a heavenly glow. Wrap them in tinfoil having added a quarter litre of water first.

Spiced shoulder of lamb (11 of 21)

Lovely lamb shoulders absorbing the divine spices.

Fold the tinfoil to form a tent and place the shoulders in the oven at 140ºC. They can be left there for three hours or so. Remove them from the oven and carefully reserve the delicious sauce that has miraculously gathered in the foil.

Spiced shoulder of lamb (14 of 21)

There is lots of flavour in there. don’t let it escape.

Add the sauce to a pot and reduce it by half. This will give a really delicious gravy.

Spiced shoulder of lamb (15 of 21)

It’s worth concentrating on this bit. The concentrated gravy is heavenly.

Make flatbreads to a better recipe than mine. I need some divine intervention in my recipe making. My unleavened bread looked pretty good but was a little too doughy for my tastes. The Wife and Eldest Daughter disagreed with my view on the bread but, I’m not confident of the recipe until I try it again.

Spiced shoulder of lamb (17 of 21)

Cooking the bread. It looks delicious.

Slice the lamb and serve it with the bread and a nice salad. It really is an uplifting experience. Heavenly almost. Those poor little lambs…..

Spiced shoulder of lamb (20 of 21)

Delicious with a bit of cooling yoghurt too.

Written by
Latest comments
  • Looks robust, full of flavour. I like a bit of ‘what do I do with this lump of lamb’ recipes, and that flavour/spice mix offers all sorts of opportunity.

    • Hi Kate,
      That just about covers it (as did the spice mixture). I know you get plenty of lamb over there. This was very special, young lamb. Part of me felt guilty for putting anything on it at all.

  • Love the seed tossing shot! And the lamb, of course.

    • That was one of about 30. 29 or so were rubbish. Such is life.

      • I remember doing more than 30 shots to get one reasonable pancake flipping shot. Such is a food blogger’s life…

  • And the angels sang. (Well, I reckon they would have if they’d got a look-in.) Love a bit of spice. Nice one Mr C!

    • Thanks Lisa,
      The angels didn’t get a look at all. They can spend their time idling on clouds, or whatever it is they do. My lot demolished most of it. It really was tastier the next day, as spiced stuff usually is.

  • A few different comments, Conor. 1) Like your new Header very much 🙂
    2. Lamb – one of husbands favourite but more or less impossible to obtain here
    3. Having said that I will try to get “a nice leg of of old goat” next time I go to the Hypermarket and then I want to try your recipe, sounds delicious.
    4. Flatbread i.e. Chapatti: for 3 I use 3 Tbsp. Atta (wheatflour), some water (to make soft but not sticky dough, some salt and sometimes chopped chives or parsley or coriander. Knead for 10 minutes, let rest (covered) for 15. Roll out and ‘fry’ on low heat 3 mins each side. Good luck!

    • Carina, you are an angel yourself! I will try your flatbreads. I love the idea of adding chives. Great idea indeed. I need to crack them. I can’t get goat to save my life. Having eaten it in Tanzania (I’m a globe-trotter you know!), I know this mix would be lovely with it.
      Best as ever,

  • Delicious, although I’d probably give it an extra couple of hours to render the fat, lamb shoulder can be a bit fatty. Love the spicing though, I’ll give it a whirl when I finally have an oven again…

    • Hi Sandra,
      Most lamb shoulder ends up that way. This was so young, there was hardly any fat at all. It was wonderful. However, I really like the idea of using older meat, cooked for longer, having been in the spice for a long time before cooking. Get the oven!

  • That looks delicious – should I feel a bit weird about eating lamb shoulder whilst in the middle of lambing? – obviously not while actually in the lambing shed, that would just be rude 🙂 We lamb late as I hate the cold and have to teach. I also think I prefer to let our lambs grow to be hoggats – maybe one day I should do a taste test and compare them both. I think I will have to make this at the weekend though as it is making me so hungry.

    • Claire, you are making me feel guilty and responsible for the death of one of your little soft, wooly darlings.
      Good of you to not eat it in front of it siblings.

  • Conor that looks delicious! I love shoulder of lamb, dare I say I prefer it to the leg? I am also on the lookout for the perfect flatbread recipe and I have yet to find it.

    • Hi Donna,
      Have a look at Carina’s (anyone4curryandotherthings) comment. she knows her stuff and has suggested a simple flatbread recipe. Shoulder is totally unappreciated as it tends to have a bit too much connective tissue and also, most seem to be afraid to cook it. Probably because of the difficulty in carving. Hacking works!

      • Hacking is the best way to present any meat 😉 I do think shoulder is tastier than leg but leg is more convenient I suppose. Thank you for pointing me in Carina’s direction, I’ll give those flatbreads a go.

  • That looks delicious – you’ll have disciples queuing up at your door 😉

    • I knew I could depend on you MD. Though, I would have said “congregating”.

      • …and they will have their bowls out doing an impersonation of Oliver Twist 😉

  • I don`t have much to say 😉 But … I love it. I really love the flatbread idea. I kind of like those simple put together dishes. I hope you know what I mean?!

    • Indeed I do. I know exactly what you mean. It is pretty basic cooking. However, the use of quality ingredients guarantees a delicious meal.

  • Well, since I live on the other side of Jerusalem you certainly have not insulted me. Am more Buddhist than Lutheran anyways [oops, a bad one: meat is officially no-no] As a matter of fact I hold a very interesting recipe for my beloved lamb in my hot little hand and surely intend to use it as soon as I can reach for some of my favourite meat . . . ooh, and I love making flatbreads 🙂 !!

    • Excellent. Let me have your flatbread recipe too please Eha. I haven’t mastered the simplest of things and it is depressing me. Carina has shared hers and it seems too simple. That probably means it will be perfect.
      Best as ever,

      • *smile* Whether you call it chapatti or supposedly the slightly thicker paratha, Carina’s is the tried, true and real recipe!!! Yes, it IS simple!!! I can get atta [the ‘real’ stuff] – you may have to do with ordinary wholemeal flour. I have to admit I usually make at least double Carina’s recipe: they disappear fast . . . matter of practice Conor!!!

        • I will give them a go.

        • Oh, most recipes DO add a tad of oil ere you begin kneading!! 🙂 !!!! And you stand BY the small pan and turn after about 30 seconds!!

  • Such a wonderful rub for the lamb. I can smell the amazing aroma from the photos. Looks absolutely delicious! 🙂

    • Thank you! It was very tasty indeed. I find that moderating the amount of chili lets the other spices shine a bit. So often, the chili hand is overplayed.

  • Spring lamb is a treat. Love your bold flavours. Have you tried them with harissa? A match made in heaven!

    • I haven’t had harissa in a long time. I must rectify that. I must rectify that very soon.

  • Impressed that you made the bread.

  • Praise the Lord indeed, Conor! I can smell the spices all the way across the pond and through my laptop screen. I can’t seem to make ANY decent kind of bread to save my life, so you can rest assured no advice will be given from me in that arena. About the only lamb I can ever find in my little U.S. town are lamb chops. And spendy indeed at that!

    • “Spendy”. What a lovely word. You are missing out on loveliness with the other lamb cuts.

  • Oh, heretic that I am in just about every way, how I love lamb shoulder. 🙂

    • A good way to be, in my view.
      Thanks Michelle.

  • Nice idea with the flatbreads…..I’m not a bread maker but I’ve had some success with flatbread…when I say success I mean that I ate them:)

    • I have been a bread maker, ending up with flat bread. Now I do meat and fish. Flat fish included.

  • Hi Conor! This looks amazing. I’m just now realizing I need more flatbread in my life. This seasoning looks so flavorful. Wow!

    • Thanks Debbie. There is a movement gathering for more flatbreads in all our lives. The seasoning is pretty excellent indeed.

  • Loving all of these toasty spices. Bold flavours and delicious homemade flat breads. I am in heaven. So when is dinner?

  • I’m a Pastafarian, so you insulted me for obvious reasons. But on another note – this is a thick question, but where exactly does the quarter litre of water go?

  • I am always open to trying new things, as a learning experience for my future as a chef. I find it hard to eat lamb however. It’s something I always find gamey. Is there any particular way I can cook lamb while avoiding that taste.

    • Could I suggest that the gamey taste may be from older lamb? Here in Ireland, we get beautiful spring lamb. It’s nearly a crime to kill them so young. If you try it, you will never look back.
      Do give it a go.

  • I have no idea what the butchers do with the shoulders here as I only see legs and chops in our markets. The seasoning sounds great as does the lamb.

    • Thanks Karen. I can always depend on you to say something positive and nice.
      Best as ever,

  • This recipe is making my mouth water just reading it! It sounds delicious! Some great photographs aswell, especially the spice shots!!

    emma @

Join the conversation, you know you want to....

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: