Spiced Lamb Shoulder Roast with a Mint and Parsley Dressing
Maybe its just me, but roasted meats seem very intimidating. If you’re an avid reader/follower here, you know I say this all the time 🙂 I think this is because nice cuts of meat are usually expensive, and you really only have one shot to *nail* it. It took me years to feel confident enough to even try to make a roast at home (if you’ve been following me for a while, you know that my first roast attempt led to me ultimately being roasted on the internet for cooking up a very pale roast chicken.) But now I’m here to help you feel confident enough to give roasting a try!!! And I also accept everyone who makes pale roast chicken!!! There is no roasting judgement here!!!
One of my favorite roasts to make for a special occasion is a beef tenderloin (highly recommend that you check out my recipe!) It’s essentially a long cut of filet mignon, that’s flavorful, silky and delicious.
Another roast I love is a chicken (obv) but today, I wanted to do something a little different. Lamb is a wonderful roast to make at home (especially for date night or another special occasion,) and there are a few different cuts to go with. For this particular recipe, we are going with a boneless lamb shoulder because it’s actually not that expensive and its a very forgiving piece of meat. Even if you overcook it a smidge, it will still taste tender and delicious. That being said, our goal is to not overcook or botch this lamb shoulder! And that’s why I’ve made a full video tutorial on how to make this.
We’re going for a medium rare internal temp, which is typically 125-135 degrees F after resting. I pulled my lamb out of the oven when it hit 120 degrees F. If you are nervous about consuming medium rare meat (please give it a try if you’ve never done it) then feel free to go with a final temp of 145 degrees internally (remove at 130 or 135.) I don’t recommend going over that, but once again, do your research and figure out a temperature that you would like the most.
Preparing the meat:
There are two steps to this recipe that I consider to be the most important. Step 1: trimming the lamb and getting rid of any extremeeee excess fat or membranes. I’m not talking about a little white splotch here and there when I say excess fat. I’m talking about the large, thick pieces of fat that rest on large surface areas around the outside of the meat. We want to get rid of those and trim accordingly with a pairing knife. Step 2: trussing the meat. I know there’s probably a tried and true method of how to tie your lamb roast up, but I think you should know the reason *why* you’re doing it, instead of focusing on getting the knots or tie perfect. Trussing is tying the lamb up with cooking twine. I don’t care how fabulous your butcher is, no piece of meat will be perfectly or evenly sized. So, the goal when we truss (AKA tie up) the lamb is to roll it up into a uniform shape, and have the string hold the meat in that uniform shape while it cooks. Why? Because our lamb will cook more evenly if the roast is the same thickness throughout and also so the juices will distribute evenly throughout the roast, resulting in juicy meat. The only pieces that will be cooked a little more than the rest of the roast will be the ends, but if the roast is trussed to be the same thickness and height throughout, then the majority will be perfectly and evenly cooked. Now that you know the purpose of trussing the lamb, you can tie it up however you want, as long as its tight, taught and uniform in shape and size. The way I trussed it in my video was completely weird, but the result was fabulous.
I sliced my lamb in the middle to fold in some of my spice blend (that’s the green line you see running through the cooked lamb) but that’s optional. I then topped the lamb with a mint and parsley dressing (a little natural play on mint jelly) and then paired it with my favorite red lentil mash with labneh and chives as a side, which I highly recommend! It’s a very hands-off type of side dish and you can make it for large groups without doing much.
|2lb boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed|
|2tsp kosher salt|
|2tsp black pepper|
|1tsp ground fennel|
|1/2tsp ground coriander|
|2tsp dried oregano if you can find Lebanese oregano, that's the best option! I used classic dried oregano|
|6 garlic cloves, minced|
|2tsp sesame seeds|
|Zest of 2 lemons|
|1/3cup olive oil|
|Mint and Parsley Dressing|
|1cup (or bunch) fresh mint, finely chopped|
|1cup (or bunch) fresh parsley, finely chopped|
|1 shallot, finely chopped|
|2tsp lime juice, plus more to taste if preferred|
|Salt, to taste|
|Black pepper, to taste|
|Extra virgin olive oil (at least 2 tbsp, plus more)|
45 minutes before roasting, remove the lamb shoulder from the fridge and let it sit out at room temperature. This helps even cooking in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and move the highest rack in the oven to the third highest position.
In a bowl, combine all of the spice blend ingredients and mix. The consistency should be like an oily herbal paste, but if yours feels dry, feel free to add some more oil!
Return to the lamb and trim any excess pieces of fat, or any large membranes coating the meat.
Lay the meat flat and rub the spice blend mixture all over it on the top, bottom, sides or in any crevices. Use all of the spice blend!
Now that your lamb is spiced up and laid flat, lets truss it up! Get a long piece of cooking twine, then tightly roll up the lamb shoulder. Get the cooking twine and set the middle of the string underneath one side of the rolled up lamb. Tie it crossways, moving down the lamb shoulder and wrapping the string around the lamb after every 2 inches. Once the entire roast is tied crossways, tie it lengthways. Tie the twine on the center top portion of the meat. Make sure it stays tight and taught before you put it in the oven!
Place a wire rack onto a sheet pan. Put the lamb shoulder in the center of the wire rack.
Put the lamb into the oven onto the middle rack (the one you moved to the 3rd highest position earlier!) and roast for 45 minutes.