Slow Roast Shoulder of Lamb with Ras El Hanout, Smoked Aubergine and Hot Mint Sauce

Slow Roast Shoulder of Lamb with Ras El Hanout, Smoked Aubergine and Hot Mint Sauce

Sunday roasts are sacrament to some people. Insofar that they have to meet certain criteria and conditions. For instance, to some, a Sunday roast has to evolve around one large joint of meat. It has to be accompanied by a selection of vegetables - including roast potatoes, roast parsnips and Yorkshire Puddings (which isn’t exactly a vegetable but it should be classed as one). And copious amounts of gravy must always be available. Like at least 10 pints per person. In fact some insist that a Sunday roast can only be held on a Sunday. Can you imagine it?

But these are hard and fast rules and they are not to be played with!

Of course, here at T&G, we always believe that there should be some tinkering around the edges and a dash of experimentation goes a long way. So if you are thinking of serving up some traditional lamb for the coming Easter weekend, but are also looking for a twist, this is the recipe for you.

Starting with the liberal addition of Ras El Hanout, that spice mix heralding from North Africa, the lamb is permeated here with lots of extra flavour from the black pepper, coriander, ginger, paprika, mace, nutmeg and clove - all depending on the variety you chose that is.

The aubergine, grilled on the hob to a crisp and then insides scooped and chopped to create a rough purée delivers a lovely smokey base for the lamb to sit on and contrast with the sweet meat.

And the hot mint sauce, again with an injection of cumin, garlic and red wine vinegar, delivers something a lot tastier than your common garden variety to be found in jars on supermarket shelves.

To serve alongside, we do recommend the usual accouterments and you will get a classic gravy from this, albeit with a little bit of a kick.

You could even cook this up at any other given time of the week. Why wait for Sundays?

However, that depends on who you’ve got coming and whether you want to upset them or not.

Ingredients - serves 6 to 8 people

1 lamb shoulder (approx. 2.5kg)

3tbs Ras El Hanout

25ml oil

3 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced

3 bay leaves

3 aubergines

1 lemon, halved

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to season

For the hot mint sauce

4tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled and grated with a microplane

1 large bunch of mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped

1tsp cumin seeds

2tbs red wine vinegar

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to season


First, heat your oven to 140°C and place the onions and bay leaves into a small roasting tray.

Coat and rub the Ras El Hanout all over the lamb and add just a drizzle of oil to help get it mixed right into the meat. You could also do this the night before and cover to marinate in the fridge.

Place the lamb top so that it fits neatly inside the tray and cover and seal with some strong foil.

Slow roast in the oven for up to 4 hours and then towards the end, take out the oven and turn the oven up to 200°C. Remove the foil and place the joint back into the oven for 20 minutes to crisp up the skin. The goal here is to ensure that the meat is tender and soft but not quite falling apart. Remove the lamb, leave to rest and put the tray with the onions to one side.

To make the smoked aubergine, fire up the rings on your hob and pierce the aubergines with a fork and place them straight on top. Turn them as the skins begin to crisp and blacken and keep going for about 20 minutes, until the aubergine begins to collapse and softens. Put to one side and leave to cool. If you don’t have a gas hob, you can also do this under a grill or over coals on a BBQ - if you fancy firing it up.

Once cool, cut the aubergines in half and scoop out the flesh onto the board and remove the skins. Then roughly chop and place into a saucepan, ready to reheat.

To make the hot mint sauce, place a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and fry for a minute until it begins to turn golden, stirring all the while. Then add half of the chopped mint leaves and the cumin and cook for another minute before adding the red wine vinegar and cook through for a further 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and then add the remaining mint and check for seasoning. Keep warm.

When ready to eat, put the tray with the onions and lamb juices back onto the hob and heat through. Also gently warm the smoked aubergine and add a squeeze of lemon juice and seasoning. Then simply pull all the bones from the shoulder of lamb, slice in half and then slice into decent chunks to portion up.

To serve, spoon a good amount of the smoked aubergine into the centre of the plate and add a generous portion of the lamb shoulder on top, followed by a drizzle of the onion gravy. Finish with a spoonful of the hot mint sauce and serve with roast potatoes, parsnips and seasonal greens.


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