hot mint sauce

slow-roasted shoulder of lamb is one of my favourite weekend dishes.

this week’s lamb was rubbed with a mix of crushed garlic, grated red onion, smoked paprika, lemon juice and olive oil – a scaled back version of a moro recipe (i didn’t have any fresh thyme leaves to add). the recipe suggests the lamb is served with a spicy chickpea puree and a hot mint sauce.

again i adapted the chickpea mash – thinly sliced red onions were cooked over quite a high heat until they softened and began to change colour. having turned the heat down i added sliced garlic, some bashed cumin and coriander seeds and left it to slowly caramelise. this was added to pureed chickpeas (i use tinned – if you drain and rinse them then leave to stand for 5 minutes in boiling water it’s easy enough to turn them into a warm mash). flat leaf parsley was stirred through at the end, along with a pinch of smoked paprika.

the hot mint sauce was the most interesting part of the dish – chopped garlic is fried in olive oil until it runs golden, fresh mint leaves and cumin seeds are then, after a minute, some red wine vinegar. simmer for 30 seconds, add a pinch of sugar and seasoning and that’s it – a lovely homemade zingy mint sauce to liven up your lamb.

moro’s hot mint sauce (serves 4-6*)

4 tablespoon’s extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

8 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 tablespoons good quality sweet red wine vinegar (add a pinch of sugar to normal red wine vinegar or use balsamic)

salt & black pepper

½ a teaspoon caster sugar (optional)

place a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. when it is hot, but not smoking, add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown - stir once or twice to ensure it colours evenly. add half the mint and all of the cumin. cook for a further minute then add the red wine vinegar and simmer for 30 seconds more. remove from the heat and stir in the remaining mint. season and add sugar if needed to balance the flavours. serve hot.

* i made a full batch for the two of us and had very little leftovers