What’s cooking today: Lamb shoulder with cumin and rose

What’s cooking today: Lamb shoulder with cumin and rose
Tony Jackman’s shoulder of lamb slow-roasted with cumin and rose. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Rose, cumin, turmeric, mint, sesame, almonds… there’s a lot going on in this recipe, and it all works in beautiful harmony to create a lamb dish that stands apart from the ubiquitous.

I had in mind the floral scents and flavours of old Persian cuisine when I dreamed up this recipe. I used just a little rose syrup, which (like rose water) you can buy in most spice shops and which would usually be used in desserts, but used sparingly lends a savoury dish that hint of rose that tantalises the palate.

Cumin is strong in this dish, both ground and the black seeds also known as nigella. A little turmeric softens the sweetness of the rose and lends more colour. Mint brings the dish its herbiness, while a scattering of toasted sesame seeds and almond flakes lends a nutty crunch.


1 shoulder of lamb

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp black cumin seeds

1 tsp ground turmeric

¼ cup rose petals

1 Tbsp chopped mint

1 Tbsp rose syrup

½ cup chicken stock

Mint leaves for garnish

30 g almond flakes, toasted, for garnish

Rose petals for garnish

Sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish

A drizzling of rose water

Salt and black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200℃.

Heat the chicken stock and stir the butter and rose syrup into it. Add the chopped mint. Season with salt and pepper.

Toast the cumin seeds and mix them with the ground cumin and turmeric and rub into the lamb.

In a heavy oven pan, heat the olive oil and brown the shoulder on all sides and edges.

Pour the stock all around.

Put it in the oven for 10 minutes at 200℃, then turn the heat down to 170℃ and cook for 3 hours or until the meat is very tender.

After an hour, baste with the pan juices.

Serve garnished with mint, toasted almond flakes and rose petals. If you have a variety, mix up the rose colours. The more beautiful the scent, the better they taste. Drizzle a little rose water over the lamb and serve with couscous scattered with toasted almond flakes. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion of the Year 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is now available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.

SUBSCRIBE: There’s much more from Tony Jackman and his food writing colleagues in his weekly TGIFood newsletter, delivered to your inbox every Saturday. Subscribe here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.


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