Turkish-Style Lamb Shoulder

Printemps 2015
food and drink

BY: Lucy Waverman

Lamb is a key element in Middle Eastern cooking. From Turkey through to Syria and Lebanon it is used as a slow-braised main or grilled as kebabs. Shoulder of lamb is a delicious cut. The meat is tasty and tender. The only issue is carving, but as this meat comes out fork-tender, it is easy to remove from the bone structure of the shoulder with a sharp knife.

4 lbs (2 kg) lamb shoulder
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp (5 mL) ground allspice
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
2 cups (500 mL) finely chopped onions
1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped carrots
1 cup (250 mL) red wine
1 can (798 mL) tomatoes, chopped
1 cup (250 mL) beef or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh oregano

2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh oregano

1 Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).

2 Season lamb with salt, pepper, allspice and cinnamon.

3 Heat 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add lamb and brown well all over, about 8 minutes in total. Remove to a large ovenproof pot.

4 Wipe skillet clean and return to medium high heat. Add remaining tbsp (15 mL) of oil. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and sauté for another 3 minutes or until softened. Pour in wine and bring to boil. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until reduced slightly. Add tomatoes, stock, bay leaves, dill and oregano, and return to a boil. Remove from heat and pour sauce around lamb. Cover and bake for 2½ hours. Remove lid and continue to cook until meat is fork tender, 15 to 30 more minutes.

5 Remove lamb to a carving board and skim fat off the sauce. If sauce is too thin, bring to a boil on the stove top and cook until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes.

6 Remove meat from the bone and return it to sauce. Garnish with dill and oregano. Serve with Za’atar Flatbread (recipe follows).

Serves 6 to 8


Flatbreads are the bread of choice all over the area. If you can find them, Iranian flatbreads are more delicate and tastier than pita, but both work. Za’atar is often a mixture of green herbs such as thyme, oregano and za’atar itself (a kind of wild thyme) with salt and sesame seeds. It is available dried.

2 large flatbreads or pitas
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) za’atar
Coarse salt

1 Heat oven to 375°F (190°C). Brush flatbread with oil and sprinkle with za’atar and salt. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until flatbread has puffed up and is crisp.

Serves 4

What to Serve