“These beautiful harissa spices give me flashbacks to a Moroccan holiday with my friends Jackie and Alex, although I can safely say the all-inclusive buffet of mostly chips and pasta didn’t inspire this recipe.

“A slow-roasted number, it will turn even hardened lamb-haters – the meat just tears apart,” says chef Poppy O’Toole. “Put in the effort with the prep, serve it up for dinner and spend half the night convincing your friends you didn’t buy it ready-to-cook. Take the glory.”


Serve with yoghurt flatbreads made using Poppy’s easy flatbread recipe.

lamb shoulder
(Louise Hagger/PA)
lamb shoulder
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Slow-roasted harissa lamb shoulder
Amount Per Serving
Calories 446 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 101mg34%
Sodium 244mg11%
Potassium 660mg19%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 38g76%
Vitamin A 187IU4%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 120mg12%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Slow-roasted harissa lamb shoulder

A dinner party feast of a meal
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Marinating6 hrs
Total Time10 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Moroccan
Servings: 6
Calories: 446kcal
Author: Poppy O'Toole


  • Roasting tray
  • Large bowl


For the lamb:

  • 2 tbsp rose harissa paste
  • 3 tbsp ras el hanout
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 tbsp light brown soft sugar
  • 6 thyme sprigs leaves picked
  • 6 rosemary sprigs leaves picked
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.4 - 1.5 kg lamb shoulder on the bone

For the couscous:

  • 200 g couscous
  • Seeds of 1 pomegranate
  • A small bunch of mint leaves picked and chopped
  • A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley leaves picked and chopped
  • 5 - 6 black or green olives pitted and sliced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and black pepper


  • Start this the night before you want to cook. Place all of the lamb ingredients apart from the meat itself into a blender and blitz to a smooth paste to make a marinade.
  • With a knife, make some little incisions into the lamb shoulder to help the marinade get right into the meat. Rub and massage the marinade into the shoulder like it’s date night, until it’s completely covered.
  • Transfer the lamb to a roasting tin, cover with foil and place it in the fridge overnight (or for a minimum of six hours).
  • Put the couscous into a container big enough to allow it to double in size and pour in 400ml/about one-and-a-half cups of cold water. Cover the bowl and transfer it to the fridge. Leave this overnight, too.
  • Remove the meat from the fridge 30 minutes before you intend to start cooking so that it can come up to room temperature, and preheat the oven to 190 °C/170°C fan/375F/Gas 5.
  • When you’re ready to cook, roast the lamb, still covered with the foil, for four hours, until it is charred a little on the outside and the meat is tender and pulls apart.
  • Drain the couscous through a fine sieve, so you don’t lose any of it. Mix all of the other couscous ingredients into it. Season with salt and pepper to taste and leave on the side to come up to room temperature.
  • Either serve your massive hunk of delicious lamb in the tin as it comes, or transfer it to a wooden board and pour all of the sauce that is left in the bottom of the roasting tin into a little jug.
  • Serve with warm flatbreads and just let people dig and tear into this huge, sharing-lamb deliciousness, the couscous and the sauce served alongside.


Calories: 446kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 244mg | Potassium: 660mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 187IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 5mg

Poppy Cooks: The Food You Need by Poppy O’Toole, photography by Louise Hagger, is published by Bloomsbury.

Poppy Cooks: The Food You Need
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • O'Toole, Poppy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update on 2021-10-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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Last update on 2021-10-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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