Pulled-apart Lamb with Tapenade and Sweet Indian Bread

Making this melt in the mouth dish of slow-cooked shoulder of lamb should make you feel very angelic. English people, for some extraordinary reason, only eat leg of lamb. All the shoulder has to be exported, and we have to import additional leg. But Britain could be lamb self-sufficient if we ate shoulder as well as leg!

Saucy Dressings’ chief taster really likes this way of cooking lamb slowly (he also particularly likes the yoghurt encrusted method given here). The lamb becomes tender and it absorbs the flavours encasing it.

If you want to make the tapenade yourself follow this link for the recipe – make a little extra.

Ideally allow time to marinate as long as possible. You could marinate during the day, cook slowly overnight, and eat for lunch the following day.


marinate alert
Remember to allow time to marinate.


Serve with a tomato salad – maybe mixed in with cucumber and torn, peppery watercress.


Recipe for pulled-apart lamb with tapenade and sweet Indian bread

Serves 4


  • 2 x 165g/6 oz jars tapenade  (if you want to make your own tapenade, go here to find out how)
  • 2 kg/2 lbs 6 oz shoulder of lamb
  • 120 ml/½ cup of red vermouth
  • smoked salt and Indonesian long pepper
  • olive oil
  • 4 pieces of sweet, fruit-filled Peshwari naan bread – I use Tesco’s finest which stuffs its bread with ‘juicy sultanas, coconut, honey and apple sauce’.


  1. Slather the lamb with the tapenade, put it in a roasting tin, cover with a nice big piece of foil and leave to marinate as long as you can in the fridge.
  2. Take the meat out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 210°C.
  3. Pour a couple of tbsps. of olive oil over the lamb.
  4. Pour the red vermouth over that.
  5. Thoroughly dampen (you’ll need to crinkle it up) a piece of baking paper and cover the meat and tin with it. Cover the baking paper with the foil you’ve saved.
  6. Roast the lamb, uncovered, for about ten minutes (save the foil), then reduce the temperature right down to 150°C and bake for at least four hours – or reduce the temperature further and bake overnight in a 120°C oven.
  7. When it comes out you should be able to pull it apart easily with a couple of forks – put the meat onto a carving board and scrape off the tapenade – put into a shallow serving bowl.
  8. Put your plates in to warm if you haven’t already.
  9. Turn the oven up to 210°C.
  10. Take the fat off the meat, pull it apart and add to the serving bowl – mix well with the tapenade.
  11. Put the bread into the oven to heat for several minutes.
  12. Deglaze the roasting tin with a little extra vermouth and pour into a separating gravy jug.
  13. Put the bowl of torn, tapenaded lamb, the jug of gravy, the warm bread and the salad all on the table for people to help themselves.


It's so tender and soft - the meat just falls apart
It’s so tender and soft – the meat just falls apart
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