Lamb shawarma

A big cut that will satisfy a crowd every time.
Lamb shawarma slow cookedBen Dearnley
4H 40M
5H 5M

“I love a slow-roasted shoulder of lamb, cooked until the meat is falling off the bone,” says Brigitte Hafner. “The shoulder has more fat than the leg so I like to cook it until it’s well-done and the fat’s rendered out, which moistens the meat. Always rest it covered and in a warm place to allow the meat to relax.

“I like this lamb flaked into large pieces with a sprinkle of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of the fatty juices from the pan. Serve it with flatbread and a crisp salad – something with a bit of acid to contrast the rich meat, like orange, shaved fennel, rocket, sumac and red onion.”


Spice paste
Garlic yoghurt


1.For spice paste, dry-roast whole spices in a frying pan until fragrant (30-40 seconds). Cool, then finely grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Stir in paprika, coriander and garlic, then stir in enough oil to loosen and form an easily spreadable paste.
2.Place lamb in a non-reactive container (see note), rub paste all over lamb and refrigerate to marinate (4-6 hours or overnight).
3.Preheat oven to 160°C. Season lamb with salt and place in a roasting pan with 1.5cm water. Cover with a layer of baking paper, seal tightly with foil, then braise in oven until lamb is very tender (3½-4 hours; it should feel soft to the touch through the foil). Remove foil, increase heat to 180°C and roast until lamb is golden brown (25-35 minutes). Remove from oven and loosely re-cover with foil to rest (20-30 minutes).
4.For garlic yoghurt, combine yoghurt and garlic in a bowl, season to taste with lemon juice, and refrigerate until required.
5.Squeeze lemon over lamb, top with pan juices, season with salt flakes and serve with salad, garlic yoghurt and flatbread.

Non-reactive containers are made from glass, ceramic or plastic. Use them in preference to metal bowls when marinating to prevent the acid in marinades from reacting with metal and imparting a metallic taste.

Drink suggestion: Spicy young syrah. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.


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