By Becky Dowst and Rachel Muse
Talk Eat Laugh

Roast lamb has been the traditional meal of Easter Sunday since before Christ was around, let alone crucified. The roast lamb meal has its roots in early Passover observances before the birth of Christianity. When Egypt experienced terrible plagues and the deaths of firstborn sons, the Jews painted sacrificed lamb’s blood on their doors so that God would ‘pass over’ their homes while punishing sinners. Hence, Passover. Then they ate the lamb!

Later, when Jews converted to Christianity, they carried over the tradition of eating lamb. Christians also refer to Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God’, Jesus was a sacrificial lamb, after all. As Easter is all about letting Jesus die and eating of his body, which he literally told his disciples to do on Maundy Thursday, it’s no wonder lamb ends up on the table.

How about this variation on a roast leg of lamb? Traditional, but with a twist.

Roast Pulled Shoulder of Lamb

Serves 6-8 (meat portion size 100g-150g)

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 3-3½hours


1.8kg/4lb lean whole shoulder of lamb or mutton (or whole leg of lamb or mutton)

Salt and freshly milled black pepper

1 x 125g curry paste or powder of your choice (we used Madras)

30ml/2tbsp tomato purée

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

400ml/¾pint good, hot lamb or vegetable stock

1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained

Freshly chopped mint and coriander leaves, to garnish


Preheat the oven to Gas mark 3, 160°C, 325°F.

Put the curry paste, tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and stock in a large non-stick roasting tin approximately 40 x 30cm (16 x 12inch).  Stir well.

Place the lamb on a chopping board and make several slits over the surface with a sharp knife. Season on both sides and transfer to the roasting tin. Spoon over the curry mixture.

Cover with parchment then foil and roast for 3-3½hours (4-4½, if using mutton) turning occasionally.

20 minutes before the end of the cooking time add the chickpeas and continue to cook uncovered.

Garnish with the herbs and serve with warm naan or flat breads, a selection of chutneys and salad.

Find more delicious recipes at our Food and Drink page.

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