If your mates’ Instagram snaps of azure-blue water and endless rounds of Aperol Spritzes in Europe are getting you down this winter, invite over the stragglers left in Australia and make them this. What better way to embrace the cold than to have a lamb in the oven for half a day, filling the house with warmth and anticipation?

The recipe is from Mike McEnearney, the chef behind No 1 Bent Street in the city. He’s the master of delicious, nurturing food. “Pot roasting is such a versatile way to cook, and certainly isn’t demanding on your time,” he says. “Lamb or mutton leg will also work very well if you don’t have a shoulder and, if you can’t find buttermilk, use white wine and enjoy a lighter spin on the recipe.”

Serve it with roasted root vegetables.

Pot-Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Onions, Thyme and Tapenade

Serves 6


1 whole lamb shoulder
1 pinch salt
30ml extra virgin olive oil
4 brown onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
¼ bunch thyme
250ml buttermilk (or white wine for cooking)
750ml chicken stock
½ bunch parsley, leaves shredded for garnish
45g rosemary

Rosemary tapenade
¼ bunch rosemary leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled
3 anchovies, finely chopped
1 tsp salted capers, roughly chopped

1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 cup purple olives, seeded and finely chopped
½ lemon

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Season the lamb shoulder with a little salt and pepper. In a large baking dish over medium heat, brown the meat on all sides in the olive oil. Tip off some of the fat and add the onions, bay leaf and thyme to the pan. Add the chicken stock and wine. Cover with baking paper and a lid of foil.

Place in the oven and bake for one hour, then drop temperature to 140°C. After baking for two more hours, drop temperature to 100°C and bake for a final two hours.

While it’s in the oven, make the tapenade. In a mortar and pestle, pound the rosemary and garlic to form a paste. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and a bit of olive oil if needed. Set aside.

Check the lamb for seasoning, garnish with lots of shredded parsley and serve with the tapenade on the side.