Slow Roasted Harissa Lamb Shoulder (Or Goat)

Lamb and goat shoulders are a fantastic cut of meat to work with that’s very forgiving. They can be intimidating for people to cook at home as they may look fatty, but that extra fat, both on the outside and inside of the meat, makes for some of the most tender meat you’ll ever have. My harissa lamb shoulder recipe is mouthwateringly tender, and a little spicy-perfect for any time of the year.

This recipe is a fun example of one way you might cook them: cut into pieces and marinated in a mildly spicy chili paste called harissa overnight, then cooked low and slow until fork-tender.

Harissa marinated lamb or goat shoulder recipe
Marinating cut pieces of lamb shoulder rubbed with the harissa paste.

As the pieces of shoulder cook, the fat renders out, keeping the meat juicy while it cooks. The bonus is, after you make the recipe, you’ll have leftover lamb fat flavored with the harissa paste to use in all kinds of dishes, like the optional chickpea ragu that I suggest later in the post.

Harissa marinated lamb or goat shoulder recipe
After slow cooking the meat will have released a lot of fat. Save it for cooking!

The dish is really easy to prepare, and most of the cooking is unattended. Just cut the shoulder into pieces, mix with the spice paste, allow to rest and marinate overnight, then bake at a low temperature in a covered pan in the oven.

Rendered lamb fat flavored with harissa paste
Leftover harissa-infused lamb fat will make delicious roasted potatoes.


Chef Alan Bergo
Chef Alan Bergo, The Forager Chef



This recipe is by James Beard Award-winning Chef Alan Bergo, a chef from Minnesota and author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora. Learn more about Chef Alan at 

The side dish of stewed chickpeas is optional, but the combination of ingredients are complimentary and traditional in Moroccan lamb dishes where harissa is used, so I definitely recommend you give it a try. I really like a good handful of bitter greens in mine, like sochan/cutleaf coneflower greens, but you could use any green you like-arugula or mustard greens are nice.

Harissa marinated lamb or goat shoulder recipe
The finished cooked pieces of shoulder, with a stew of chickpeas, tomatoes and bitter greens.


More Spicy Lamb Recipes

Jamaican Goat or Lamb Curry

Spicy Lamb Meatballs

Sichuan  Sausage

Harissa marinated lamb or goat shoulder recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Slow Roasted Harissa Lamb Shoulder (Or Goat)

Tender pieces of lamb or goat shoulder marinated in harissa spice paste.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Marinating time8 hours
Total Time10 hours 15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Moroccan
Keyword: fan gas, Harissa, Lamb Shoulder
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 329kcal
Cost: 20


  • 1 baking dish, cast iron pan, or roasting tin
  • 1 Parchment paper
  • 1 lid or aluminum foil


Lamb Shoulder

Stewed Chickpeas

  • 4 oz bitter greens such as dandelions or mustard greens
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 2 cans chickpeas or roughly 3 cups cooked, with 1 cup of their liquid
  • 6 ripe roma tomatoes roughly 10 oz
  • 3 Tablespoons reserved fat from the lamb shoulder
  • 3-4 sliced fresh mint leaves optional
  • 2 oz 2 small finely chopped shallot
  • 1 medium clove of garlic minced or grated


Lamb shoulder

  • Combine the lamb or goat pieces with the salt and pepper and the harissa paste, then mix to coat, then transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, preheat the oven to 275F, arrange the lamb chunks in a 10 inch cast iron pan or baking dish, cover with a sheet of parchment, loosely cover with foil. Roast the lamb for 2 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
  • From here, the meat can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and reheated as you like. Reserve the fat for general cooking in a small bowl.

Stewed chickpeas

  • For the chickpeas, take 3 tablespoons of chickpeas and puree them in a blender with 1 cup of the liquid from their can, or their cooking liquid if you prefer to use dried chickpeas. Reserve the chickpea liquid.
  • In a 10 inch pan or similar, cook the shallot and garlic on medium heat in the 3 Tablespoons of reserved lamb for or olive oil for 2-3 minutes, until aromatic.
  • Add the chickpeas, the pureed chickpea liquid and tomatoes, bring the mixture to a brisk simmer, then add the greens, cover, cook for a minute, then remove the lid and stir to help the greens wilt.
  • Cook the mixture with the lid off the pan for a few minutes to reduce the juices in the pan. The mixture should be a bit soupy and juicy.


  • Meanwhile, gently brown the pieces of lamb shoulder in the reserved fat in a separate pan.
  • Add the mint to the pan with the chickpeas, then double check the seasoning for salt and pepper, adjust until it tastes good to you, then serve. Spoon the juicy chickpea mixture into bowls or deep plates with a rim, arrange a few pieces of the lamb shoulder on top of each, drizzle over some olive oil, and serve.


  • Shoulder is great here, but lamb neck is a great substitute.
  • Shank meat will also work.
  • Adding a pinch of finely chopped, preserved lemons to the chickpea dish can be great too. 
  • Alternately, you can rub a whole shoulder with harissa pasta and pull the meat when it's tender. 


Serving: 4oz | Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 1036mg | Potassium: 904mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1639IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 3mg