Sabrina Ghayour on cooking lamb for Easter

PUBLISHED: 00:00 03 April 2020

Sabrina Portrait (c) Kris Kirkham

Sabrina Portrait (c) Kris Kirkham


Easter lamb. Memories are made of this, says Sabrina

Sabrina Day 3 Shoulder of Lamb (c) Liz & Max Haarala HamiltonSabrina Day 3 Shoulder of Lamb (c) Liz & Max Haarala Hamilton

This time last year, I remember busily planning a get-together for friends at my home for Easter Sunday. Comforting roast lamb was to be at the centre of my feast and all the wonderful trimmings that go with it. Fast forward to the Easter weekend itself and naturally, as she often does, Mother Nature threw us a curveball and we somehow managed to experience the most wonderful weekend of warm weather with temperatures peaking at 25 degrees! I abandoned the oven roasted lamb and indoor feasting in favour of a wonderful barbecue in the sunshine with the smell of mouthwatering barbecued meat, sizzling sausages and killer kebabs in the air, colourful sides, an enormous pavlova and plenty of drinks. We laughed, we ate, we drank and as the warm sun went down, we lay on blankets in the garden and listened to music. It was my first real barbecue and garden party at my new home in Yorkshire and I tell you what, Yorkshire (and Mother Nature) pulled out all the stops to make that Sunday one of the most memorable of my life.Whilst I cannot guarantee you sunshine and tropical climes this Easter, the one thing I can do is give you a little inspiration for a wonderfully aromatic, spice-perfumed lamb shoulder which has proven to be a crowd-pleaser every single time. It is a perfect yet totally simple treatment to pair with all that top-notch lamb and hogget we have in Yorkshire and the perfect way to make your Easter a wonderful one. The spicing is gentle and aromatic and so you can still pair the lamb with all your favourite traditional side dishes.

My only advice to you would be double the quantity and then use any leftovers to make a nice shepherd’s pie, tacos, chilli con carne or whatever you like, the next day. 

Taken from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour published by Mitchell Beazley, £25.

Spice-Perfumed Shoulder of Lamb

Serves 6

Persian spices are aromatic and flavoursome, never harsh or abrasive. Spicing is used in a subtle way and this spice-perfumed lamb is made with my special blend of some of the most commonly used spices, fused with more unique ingredients such as rose petals and lime powder. This particular spice blend works very well with the fatty nature of the shoulder cut of lamb.


2.5kg (5lb 8oz) shoulder of lamb

2 heaped tbsp sumac

4 tbsp dried edible rose petals

1 tbsp ground cumin

1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tbsp dried lime powder

(or add 1 extra tbsp sumac)

vegetable oil

2 tsp crushed sea salt


Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas mark 3.

Place the lamb shoulder in a roasting tin lined with nonstick baking paper.

Put the sumac, rose petals, cumin, cinnamon and lime powder into a spice grinder or small food processor and process until the rose petals are ground as finely as you can manage.

Drizzle a little oil on to the lamb and rub it all over the joint to create a surface for your spice mix to stick to, then season generously with the sea salt.

Roast in the oven for 4 hours, then remove the lamb, cover with kitchen foil and leave it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, you can literally take a fork and gently pull the lamb apart or be all fancy and rather unnecessarily use a knife to slice it.

Serve with a green salad, potatoes or rice

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