Lamb shoulder – slow cooked with fennel

One of the first recipes I posted to Feast Wisely was my favourite Sunday roast – a slow cooked lamb shoulder. It’s probably the dish I’d nominate for my last meal. And it’s proved to be way more popular than I expected – over almost 2 years it’s been my third most visited recipe – only out viewed by pork shoulder with crispy crackling sugar free beetroot pickle.

“Spring lamb” in Australia refers to the peak in lamb supply in line with the breeding cycle – lambs are born in Winter and sold in Spring. So with Spring in full bloom I thought it was time to share another variation of slow cooked lamb shoulder.

I left my local farmers market with a 1.3kg shoulder from Mirrool Creek Lamb, a family owned business that’s known for some of the best naturally grown lamb in New South Wales. I paired it with lemon, garlic and rosemary, and added fennel and onion to balance out the meat feast with a few vegetables.

Lamb shoulder - slow cooked with rosemary & fennelSlow cooked lamb shoulder with fennel


  • 1.2kg a 1.6kg lamb shoulder bone-in (serves 4 with sides)
  • 30-50ml olive oil
  • 2-3 rosemary sprigs, leaves chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 fresh red chilli or 2 tsp dried chilli (optional)
  • 1 lemon – zest and juice
  • 1 large brown onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into thick slices


  1. Add the fennel seeds to be a pestle and mortar and roughly grind. Then add the chilli, crushed garlic, rosemary leaves, salt, lemon zest and juice and olive oil. Grind to make a smooth paste.
  2. Add the chopped onion and fennel to the base of a roasting pan.
  3. Place the lamb shoulder on top of the vegetables, fat side up. Slice a few cuts into the fat side then evenly massage the paste into the shoulder. Add 1/2 cup water around the lamb.
  4. Set the oven to 220C and cook the lamb uncovered for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 140C and cook for another 4-5 hours or until the meat is falling from the bone.
  5. Half way through baste the lamb with the juices. If the meat is drying out during cooking add a little water.
  6. For extra crispy skin turn the heat back up for the last 5-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on the lamb so it doesn’t burn.

Tip: For the best results massage the lamb with the paste 2 to 24 hours ahead of cooking, and marinate in the fridge. Remove from the fridge an hour before cooking.

Lamb shoulder - slow cooked with rosemary & fennel

Lamb shoulder - slow cooked with rosemary & fennelServe with a home-made salsa verde with lots of fresh herbs.

By Laura (Feast Wisely)

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8 thoughts on “Lamb shoulder – slow cooked with fennel

  1. This is brilliant Laura. Love that you serve it with a home made salsa verde and looks like you roasted it in a terra cotta roasting pan, which most likely add a bit of flavor and even-ness to the roasting. Lovely recipe!

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