Slow roast lamb Shawarma

Lamb is synonymous with Easter. It’s also the perfect time to invite friends and family to gather around the table. What better than celebrating with a roast? Marinated overnight in garlic and earthy spices, this slow roast lamb shank shawarma is worth getting excited about. The meat is meltingly tender with a jammy onion gravy playing to the sweet fattiness of the lamb. This year, rather than a roast leg of lamb, I’ve decided on shanks but, the recipe is adaptable for either cut. Lamb is especially good paired with warming spices redolent of the Middle East.

Slow roast lamb Shawarma

Lamb shawarma’s iconic status reaches well beyond the borders of the Middle East. Come to think of it, what better way to eat a roast than in a casual pita-pocket. I’ve deviated slightly from tradition by including a splash of red wine and a little stock for the gravy. The result is a chestnut-coloured pan sauce that’ll have everyone breaking bread to mop up the sticky sauce.

What to serve with Slow Roast Lamb Shank Shawarma

As Ottolenghi, the Middle Eastern guru explains in his book, Jerusalem – The best way to eat a shawarma is stuffed into warm pita pockets with chopped onion, parsley and a sprinkling of sumac. Finish with the quintessential tomato and cucumber salad. If your Easter celebration leads you in this direction, I’d include hummus and perhaps a tabbouleh salad too.

The FeedFeed, features this recipe and a host of other delicious ways with lamb. You can hop over there by clicking on the link. And for dessert? Chocolate, of course. My Nutella chocolate mousse cake is a huge favourite. Happy Easter friends!

Slow roast lamb Shawarma
Slow roast lamb shank shawarma
Serves 6
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried, red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup weak meat stock
  • 6 free-range lamb shanks, excess fat trimmed
  • 2-3 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, to finish
  1. For the marinade, place the garlic, olive oil and all the aromatics into a bowl. Stir to combine.
  2. Pour the marinade over the meat and rub in. Massaging the marinade in by hand is the best way to do this.
  3. Place the shanks in a non-metallic dish, cover and allow to marinate overnight in the fridge.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Bring the lamb up to room temperature.
  5. Transfer the lamb to a roasting tin. Season with salt and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Cover with foil and roast for 2 hours.
  7. Turn the shanks over. Add the onions to the roasting tin and pour in the red wine and stock.
  8. Cover with the foil and roast for a further 90 minutes. If the liquid reduces too rapidly, just add a little extra water.
  9. Remove the foil and baste the meat with the pan juices.
  10. Turn the oven temperature up to 200ºC and roast for a further 20-30 minutes.
  11. Add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, cover with foil and allow to rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving.


Sides to serve with Slow roast lamb shank shawarma:

Tabbouleh Bulgur Wheat Salad

Roast Aubergines with miso and pomelo

Paprika roast sweet potatoes

Easy yoghurt flatbreads


13 Comments. Leave new

  • This looks amazing. I am going to try this recipe for Easter.

  • Di, you have done it again !! slow roast lamb shawarma sounds fabulous a must for this Passover, love your ideas and recipes, GREAT inspiration, keep the creative juices flowing,

  • Dianne Bibby
    18 March 2016 11:40 am

    Glad to hear you’re doing the lunch! It couldn’t be easier, especially to feed a crowd.

  • Dianne Bibby
    18 March 2016 11:45 am

    Thanks Amanda. Glad you found your way to the blog! Lamb is always good for special occasions and a firm favourite with us meat-loving South Africans.

  • Just found my Easter menu. Merci. I can’t wait to try it although I will downsize it for the 2 of us.

  • Dianne Bibby
    20 March 2016 9:21 pm

    Hi Nadia. That’s one of the advantages of lamb shanks – just the right amount of meat per portion. Wishing you a very happy Easter with a tableful of delicious food. Thanks for stopping by.

  • This was amazing! Used a leg of lamb instead to feed the whole family for Easter and everyone loved it. There were no leftovers 🙂 always a good sign. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Dianne Bibby
    5 April 2016 3:24 pm

    Oh dear! You’ll possibly have to make it again soon…. The Shepherd’s pie is going to need leftovers.

  • Please explain ‘ground mixed spices’ . It’s my first time to your site. Recipe looks delicious

  • All spice is a single whole spice while mixed spice is a combination of some or all of the following: All spice, coriander, caraway, mace, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. It’s used mostly in baking but also works really well with Middle Eastern savoury dishes, like these lamb shanks. Hope that helps.

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