Slow-braised Shoulder of Lamb  with Onions, Thyme & Balsamic

by Tom Aikens

Main Easy ​​​​​​​ 4 ​​​​​​​ Prep/Cook: 8 hours


1 shoulder of lamb, rested for an hour at room temperature before cooking

8 sprigs of fresh thyme

8 medium onions, whole and peeled

250ml of balsamic vinegar

2 bulbs of garlic, peeled

olive oil

sea salt

black pepper

1000g of large white potatoes, peeled

2l water

350g of butter

400ml of milk, warmed

10g of salt

black pepper, freshly milled


1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4

2. Rub the shoulder of lamb with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place a little more olive oil into the bottom of a large casserole pot with the onions, garlic and thyme, sit the lamb on top. Place into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the lamb and onions have coloured

3. Remove the pot from the oven. Turn the oven down to 110ºC. Cover with a suitable lid and cook for approximately 5 hours

4. After 5 hours, remove the garlic and onions from the pot and reserve. Add the balsamic vinegar, and continue to cook for a further 1-1/2 hours, without the lid on. Baste the shoulder in the vinegar liquid every 20 minutes

5. Between bastings, prepare the mashed potato. Cut the potatoes into 2 inch pieces and rinse in cold water. Place the potatoes into a pan with the water and salt. Place over the heat and bring to a slow simmer. Simmer for 25-35 minutes, until they are just tender and drain

6. Place the potatoes into a mouli with the butter and grind into a bowl (you could also use a potato masher for this process)

7. Place the mixture back into the pan, add salt to taste, pepper and warm milk, stir until smooth. Set aside to keep warm while you finish the lamb

8. Transfer the lamb from the oven to the stove top and place over a low heat to reduce any excess liquid. Baste the lamb in the liquid as you reduce

9. Add the onions and garlic back with the lamb for 10 minutes to reheat

10. To serve, cut the braised lamb into 4 portions. Serve with the onions, garlic and mash