How to level-up your standard Sunday roast

Food 16/07/2018

Tired of slaving over your standard Sunday roast? Slow cooking your lamb kicks it up a level, and it also has the benefit of being ridiculously easy.

Gibbston Valley Winery and Restaurant chef Anthony Gradiska joined The AM Show on Wednesday with a slow cooked lamb shoulder, to offer his advice on how to slow cook the temperamental meat without drying it out.

Check out our Crispy Roast Pork recipe

Or try our lean Venison Roast recipe

"Go low, go slow and go long," is Gradiksa's advice.

To nail it, he recommends the meat is cooked for four or five hours in the oven at a low temperature, "around 130 degrees, then crank it up to 200 degrees for another 10-15 minutes to finish it off".

That "hard heat" is to give it some colour, Gradiska advises. 

In central Otago, where Gibbston Valley is based, Gradiska says the meat of choice "has to be lamb".

"There are all these old high country sheep stations down here producing some amazing lamb," he says.

While you can use a conventional slow cooker if you're that way inclined, taking the meat out in the evening, the oven is Gradiska's preference.

"You know, when the weather's going to be garbage on a Sunday you can chuck it in the oven and leave it on low for four or five hours or whatever."

He says you know it's done when you "chuck a fork in there - the meat should fall apart off the bone".

If you've perfected Gradiksa's method and you're ready to take your recipe up a notch, try this sticky low roast lamb from our friends at Fresh.


  • A casserole dish or large saucepan that has a lid and will go in the oven (we used Le Creuset)
  • A shoulder of NZ lamb (about 2kg and not too big for your dish)
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 250ml red wine
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bottle of sweet chilli sauce
  • Yams to roast in the casserole dish  for the final 45 minutes.


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 140°C and prep your lamb. Pop it into the casserole dish and use a sharp knife to cut 7-8 holes in it.
  2. Break each sprig of rosemary in half and poke into the holes. Drizzle the whole lamb with olive oil, coating the top, then sprinkle liberally with rock salt and fresh ground pepper.
  3. Pour a glass of wine into the bottom, throw the garlic cloves in, put the lid on and place into the centre of your oven.
  4. Leave it alone for three hours. Take it out of the oven, remove the lid. Pull out the rosemary and pour your sweet chilli sauce over the whole shoulder of lamb.
  5. Take care to cover as much as you can. Leave the lid off and place back into the oven.
  6. Now, roast it for an hour and a half. Check on it, if it still needs a little crisping up, leave it in for another 30 minutes.
  7. When you're convinced it's done, take the lamb out and gently transfer onto a plate to rest. Skim the fat off the top of the juices left in the pan. With most of the fat gone, pour some of the red wine sauce left into a jug. Let it sit for a minute, then pour off any last fat that comes to the surface.
  8. Pop what's left on the table, for people to drizzle over their shredded lamb. It's much richer than gravy so go easy!
  9. Serve with candied yams, Brussels sprouts steamed greens and mashed spuds for a fab main affair.

The lamb is so tender, it will fall apart with very little effort on your behalf. Just use a couple of forks to shred it, and pile onto people's plates.