Moroccan Spiced Lamb Rack with Burnt Aubergine Sauce

Aubergine is surely the most magical of all vegetables. Stacks of shiny purple orbs sit squat and full of promise everywhere down Rye Lane,* and a particularly good looking specimen will seduce me at least once a week. When I first started learning to cook, the aubergine was also my first big disappointment – I had no idea how to cook it and my inexperienced hand left the poor thing tough-skinned and slimy. Thank goodness I persevered. Just consider a life without fish fragrant aubergines or melanzane alla parmigiana.

‘Burning’ aubergine opens the door on a whole new world for fanatics; you dump it on the gas ring of the hob, turn it every so often and then find that the inside of your charred, collapsed, steaming black vegetable has transformed from white and woolly to smoky, creamed mush.

Ottolenghi mixes it with yoghurt, garlic, lemon and pomegranate molasses and who am I to argue? It’s perfect. I’ve eaten it with lunch for a week and not got bored. It also goes spectacularly well with this lamb.

The lamb works best if you really get in with your hands and massage the rack with those spices. Leave it overnight if you have time. Minted, pistachio studded cous cous cooked in stock makes excellent bedrock and the burnt aubergine sauce is cooling and sharp yet sweet, with that curious addictive quality that pomegranate molasses brings.

One of my favourite meals of the past few weeks.

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Rack with Burnt Aubergine Sauce

For the aubergine sauce, go here.

For the lamb

1 lamb rack, about 8 chops
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp dried mint
Pinch of ground cloves
1 clove crushed garlic
2 tbsps olive oil

Mix together all the spices, garlic, oil and a little salt and pepper. Rub this over the rack, really working it in and leave overnight in the fridge. Allow to come to room temperature before cooking.

To cook your rack, preheat your oven to 250C. Sear the lamb rack, fat side down for about 4 minutes then turn over for another few minutes. Put the rack in the oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your rack. Mine was only just cooked and I left it in for 15 minutes. Rest the rack for another 15 minutes and then carve into mini chops.

* My favourite shop on the whole stretch is Khan’s – post coming up.

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21 thoughts on “Moroccan Spiced Lamb Rack with Burnt Aubergine Sauce

  1. i have been a fan of your website for over 1 year now!! and finally got round to cooking one of your mouth watering recipes!!!!

    Well!!!! O – M Goodness!!! I hated Aubergine ….. not anymore

    The lamb was just beautiful!!!

    Heres to many more Helen Graves cooking experiences :-))

  2. I couldn’t possibly live my life without aubergines (you quoted two of my favourite aubergine dishes there). I love the Ottolenghi cookery book too, and can’t wait for Plenty to get published in May. This is such an easy and delicious recipe, thanks.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  3. Lizzie – The only thing that could make that meal better would be SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM. Afterwards, of course.

    Sarah – Such an amazing book, isn’t it? I can’t wait for another one to come out.

    Chris – Dude, I think we have all accepted that you just don’t like the aubs. I mean, you’re wrong, but anyway…

    James – Thanks. Good point about the blow torch! I reckon your party of 85 would love it…:)

    Nina – Thanks!

    Gourmet Chick – ooh you lucky thing. Can’t wait to hear about it.

    Craftilicious – No.

    Jenn – Such an amazing smell isn’t it? Even more so on the BBQ.

    Aisling – I agree. I would only grill if I didn’t have a gas ring. Perhaps your method might be worth a try for Edd though. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. Grilling works ok for me, but for a truly smoky taste, there’s nothing like exposing the skin and flesh to a raw flame (gas or BBQ). How about 2 mins blow torch (for the burn!) then grill / grill pan after?

  5. Thanks, thought after posting that working round it with a mini-bit of fire would take all day, so grilling it is!

  6. The Ottolenghi book is such a winner and I think that the lamb works really well with the Moroccan spicing and burnt eggplant. I am doing an Ottolenghi cooking course at Leiths next weekend and I am super excited!

  7. @ Edd – blow torch? Maybe if you’ve got all day. Grill pan works – you can just leave on that & forget about it.

    Was introduced the gas method by a private chef for an arab family. Never looked back.

    Like the Morroccan spices. Wonder if my party of 85 will go for it?

  8. Sorry I lost you after ‘Aubergine is…’

    Seriously though, those lamb chops look gorgeous. I just remain to be convinced on the old eggplant.

  9. I’ve been cooking my way through loads of the savoury Ottolenghi recipes so expect a burst of them on my blog soon. I’ve not tried this burnt aubergine but it sounds fantastic and if it lives up to everything else I’ve tried from them I know I wouldn’t be disappointed. That lamb looks fantastic too.

  10. Edd – Thanks. Well I’ve only tried the grilling method and I’m pleased to tell you that it works, although it does take longer. Grill it and turn it until completely collapsed and charred – even if it bursts. Always do more than you need. As for the blow torch method – I would definitely try it if I had one. I reckon it’ll work a treat.

    Andrew – No! I haven’t! Bless you for giving me a new aubergine recipe. I am happy lady. It sounds like a right cracker too.

  11. Looks delightful. I guess I have two routes, as I lack gas – grill the aubergine or attack it with a blowtorch. Any guesses which might work best?


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