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Our family does a lot of entertaining, especially around the holidays, and this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Pomegranate Apricot Glaze is a delicious roast that is perfect for festive gatherings or Sunday dinners when braised in pomegranate juice and cooked until it is fall-apart tender!

This post is sponsored by the American Lamb Board. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Our family does a lot of entertaining, especially around the holidays, and this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Pomegranate Apricot Glaze is a delicious roast that is perfect for festive gatherings or Sunday dinners when braised in pomegranate juice and cooked until it is fall-apart tender! 

I love this time of year and how frequently we seem to get together with friends and family. Sometimes it’s less formal where we just eat off a fruit and cheese platter and play games, other times it’s more of a sit-down meal with a full dinner menu and tablescaping using seasonal decor.

When I’m planning the latter, I like to base the menu around something special like this slow roasted lamb shoulder that gets rubbed in spices then cooked for a long time in the oven until it is fall-apart tender and succulent.

And those jewel-red pomegranate seeds that are sprinkled over the finished lamb roast are my favorite because I love the sweet bursts of pomegranate flavor with each bite of rich, juicy lamb meat.

An image of a platter of shredded lamb shoulder that has been slow roasted and pulled apart, then garnished with pomegranate seeds.

Lamb is one of my favorite proteins and I loved partnering with the American Lamb Board on this post. I’m part of their Lambassador program and support eating homegrown lamb that comes from the USA.

So when I went to my local butcher I was really happy to see that not only did they have the lamb shoulder I was looking for, but they even had information about the local California sheep rancher who raised it!

I love how easy it is to cook lamb and how it’s rich, adventurous flavor makes it special for everyday celebrations like a supper club, holiday meal, or Sunday dinner. This particular slow roasted lamb shoulder recipe is perfect for any of those because almost all of the work happens a couple of hours in advance, leaving you with plenty of time to clean up, set the table, decorate, and finish off sides or dessert.

An image of a mother and daughter sitting at a table eating slow roasted lamb shoulder.

An image of a table set for Christmas dinner with a large platter of shredded roasted lamb for the main course. An image of a table set for dinner with a serving plate of slow roasted pomegranate lamb shoulder for the main course and pastrami spiced brussels sprouts on the side.

Here is our full dinner menu for this particular occasion, so you can recreate it if you want to for your holiday meal.

Menu

Beverage

Pomegranate in a Pear Tree Punch Sparkling Mocktails

Appetizer

Apricot Baked Brie en Croûte

Entree

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Pomegranate Apricot Glaze, pastrami-spiced brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes

Dessert

Dutch Pear & Nutmeg Pie with Streusel Topping à la mode

I was so happy with how everything turned out and how well it all went together. And for an easy decorating idea, I just placed some extra pomegranates and pears on the table along with a floral arrangement I made. The pop of color was both beautiful and seasonal, while indicating some of the flavors in the drink, main dish, and dessert!

An image of a woman arranging flowers for a Christmas floral arrangement.

An image of a bowl of pastrami-spiced brussels sprouts. An image of a woman holding a platter of slow roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate apricot glaze while someone else serves from it. An image of a woman cutting a pie for dessert. An image of a slice of dutch pear & nutmeg pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. An image of someone lifting a slice of dutch pear pie to place it on a dessert plate.

If you are thinking lamb for Christmas but might not have the time to do slow roasted lamb shoulder, another easy favorite lamb dish that I tend to make around the holidays is my rosemary & garlic oven roasted rack of lamb. It is a fantastic choice for a Christmas or New Year’s dinner and is a great introduction to lamb for anyone who hasn’t had it very much.

Americans don’t eat as much lamb as other parts of the world and we have definitely been missing out! Our girls love it and it’s so versatile!

More than 50% of the lamb in the US marketplace is imported from Australia and New Zealand. By choosing American Lamb, you’re supporting local ranchers throughout the US.

You can ask your grocer or butcher where they source their lamb or visit americanlamb.com for recommendations.

An image of a table set for Christmas dinner with a large platter of slow roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate apricot glaze for the main dish. An image of a child's hand holding a spoon to serve roasted brussels sprouts. An image of a family sitting down to dinner. An image of a table set for Christmas dinner with a serving plate full of spiced pomegranate lamb shoulder for the main dish. An image of a holiday dinner spread.

How to Make Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

  1. Combine the rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub them all over the lamb shoulder.  Place the lamb shoulder into a large pan or roasting dish, then scatter the rosemary and garlic on top. Some people like to cut gashes into their lamb and actually stick the rosemary and garlic into the lamb, but I don’t find that to make much of a difference so I don’t bother.
  2. Let the lamb sit out of the fridge for 1 hour before cooking to take off the chill before putting it in the oven.
  3. When ready to start roasting the lamb, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and scatter the chopped onion around the meat.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pomegranate juice and apricot preserves, then pour into the pan around the lamb for a braising liquid.
  5. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and roast for around 4 to 4 1/2 hours.  The lamb shoulder is done when you can easily pull the meat apart with two forks. It will be so tender that you won’t need to carve it and it should just fall away from the bone.
  6. To make the glaze, at about the 3 1/2 to 4 hours mark, take roast out of the oven and remove the foil then carefully pour off the liquid into a fat separator. You can discard the onions, rosemary sprigs, and garlic at this point. Pour just the lamb juices with the pomegranate juice and apricot preserves into a medium saucepan. Re-cover the meat and return to the oven. Meanwhile, bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat until reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 and becomes syrupy, about 20 minutes.
  7. When the lamb is done, remove it from the oven and pour half of the glaze over the meat. Use two forks to pull the tender meat away from the bones and shred in the glaze, then transfer the shredded lamb to a serving platter and scatter with pomegranate seeds for garnish.
  8. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. Serve with the remaining glaze for guests to drizzle over their lamb, if desired.

An image of bone-in slow roasted lamb shoulder being pulled apart with two forks.

More Fantastic Lamb Recipes

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Pomegranate Apricot Glaze
Yield: 6 people

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Pomegranate Apricot Glaze

Our family does a lot of entertaining, especially around the holidays, and this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Pomegranate Apricot Glaze is a delicious roast that is perfect for festive gatherings or Sunday dinners when braised in pomegranate juice and cooked until it is fall-apart tender!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

Rub

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Lamb

  • 4-4.5 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, for garnish
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Combine the rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub them all over the lamb shoulder.  Place the lamb shoulder into a large pan or roasting dish, then scatter the rosemary and garlic on top.  Some people like to cut gashes into their lamb and actually stick the rosemary and garlic into the lamb, but I don't find that to make much of a difference so I don't bother.
  2. Let the lamb sit out of the fridge for 1 hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Scatter the chopped onion around the meat.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the pomegranate juice and apricot preserves, then pour into the pan around the lamb for a braising liquid.  Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and roast for around 4 to 4 1/2 hours.  The lamb shoulder is done when you can easily pull the meat apart with two forks.
  3. To make the glaze, at about the 3 1/2 to 4 hours mark, take roast out of the oven and remove the foil then carefully pour off the liquid into a fat separator. Pour just the lamb juices with the pomegranate juice and apricot preserves into a medium saucepan. Re-cover the meat and return to the oven. Meanwhile, bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat until reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 and becomes syrupy, about 20 minutes.
  4. When the lamb is done, remove it from the oven and pour half of the glaze over the meat. Use two forks to pull the tender meat away from the bones and shred in the glaze, then transfer the shredded lamb to a serving platter and scatter with pomegranate seeds for garnish. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. Serve with the remaining glaze for guests to drizzle over their lamb, if desired.  

Notes

Adapted from AllRecipes.

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