Today I’m going to share something that I’ve learned how to do pretty well over the years. I will teach you how to cook lamb in the oven, the easy way, so that you can prepare the best roasted lamb for your family ever.
The secret to cooking lamb in the oven, so that the meat basically falls off the bones, is using low temperature and being patient because it takes a lot of time. (Warning: Don’t start cooking lamb for dinner if you’re hungry at the moment…)
You can use this slow roast lamb recipe for most lamb meat cuts, but it will work especially well with lamb shanks or shoulders.
Why I Cook Lamb Every Year
The reason I roast lamb every year is that it’s a tradition where I come from. In Bulgaria, we slow roast lamb for Easter and then, a few weeks later again for St. George’s day. Whenever there’s a St. ____ day, the person named after that saint has a name day and celebrates it.
You don’t invite guests, if they decide to, they show up without invitation and everyone has some food, drinks and laughs. It’s a beautiful tradition and a name day is something like a second birthday, it’s very important here.
Since my name is George, every St. George I am the person who expects guests in my house. Which is wonderful, and I am grateful for all the people who show up every year. It does require a lot of preparation though like cleaning, cutting lamb (we do the butchering ourselves – not relatable, I know!)…And then slowly roasting it in the oven. The time spent together and the final result are worth all the efforts!
What You Will Need:
- a deep casserole with a lid (mine is made out of steel) or a deep baking dish that you can cover with a lid or with foil
- lamb meat, bone-in
- bunches of scallions
- fresh mint
- salt and water
- an oven
How To Cook Lamb In The Oven
Start by preparing a simple marinade made out of salt, oil and paprika in a bowl.
Mix these three together.
Rub each piece of lamb generously with this marinade.
Wash and thinly chop the scallions and mint.
Spread them on the bottom of the casserole or the baking dish.
Place the lamb on top of the scallions and mint. Add water.
Cover the casserole or the baking dish with a lid or with double foil.
Place it in the bottom rack of the oven and bake at 200C/400F for about 15 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 150C/300F and cook the lamb covered for 2 and a half hours.
In the last 20 minutes, uncover, pour some of the liquid over the lamb, increase temperature to 200C/400F again and roast until the skin is nicely browned.
Serve immediately with bread or rice and fresh vegetables.
This lamb recipe is pretty simple and therefore very versatile. Here are some things you can change:
- You can definitely use other herbs for the lamb as well. Rosemary, thyme and even oregano can be great too.
- Add some heat if you desire, by adding some chili flakes or jalapenos to the rub mixture
- Add some garlic to the mixture of mint and green onions…you can even use fresh green garlic instead of the onions. Or do a mix.
Tips For The Best Lamb
- do not rush it, slow and steady wins the race
- make sure the lamb is sealed thightly in the baking dish while cooking, so that the moisture is kept inside and the meat doesn’t dry out (steel casserole is perfect for this)
- make sure there’s enough water in the dish. The lamb shouldn’t be covered completely in water, rather to 1/3-1/2
More Easy Meat Recipes:
I hope you learned how to cook lamb in the oven and don’t feel intimitaded to try it out! I also hope you and your guests or family really enjoy that lamb.
- 2.2 kg / 4.8 lbs bone-in lamb shoulders or shanks
- 2 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups chopped mint
- 2 cups chopped green onions
- 22oz/650ml water
- Prepare a simple marinade with the salt, oil and paprika, mixing them in a bowl.
- Rub each piece of lamb generously with this marinade.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Wash and thinly chop the scallions and mint.
- Spread them on the bottom of the casserole or the baking dish.
- Place the lamb on top of the scallions and mint.
- Add water to the bottom, then cover the casserole with a lid or a double layer of foil.
- Place the baking dish in the bottom part of the oven and bake at 200C/400F for about 15 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 150C/300F and cook the lamb covered for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- During the last 15-20 minutes, uncover, pour some of the liquid over the lamb, increase the temperature to 200C/400F again and roast until the skin is nicely browned.
- Serve immediately with bread or rice and fresh vegetables.