Thursday, 1 March 2012

Hummus-Marinated Roast Lamb with Mint Salsa Verde

I watched an old Naked Chef episode last year, where the fat-tongued national treasure crushed up some yoghurt and chickpeas and some spices and marinated a leg of lamb, and I thought: 'It seems like he's using hummus ingredients for the marinade, without actually calling it hummus.'

So, by using a tub of the ready-made Greek dip (tastier, quicker and cheaper than a load of old tinned chickpeas and cumin) as a marinade, and lamb shoulder rather than a leg of lamb ('half the price and twice as nice', as a floppy-haired mockney might have said in 1999) to rub it into, I felt that I might improve the pukka Essex boy's recipe no-end.

So, around last June, I bought a tub of hummus, marinated a boned-out shoulder of lamb, and roasted it on my mum's barbecue for a summery lunch, alongside a sharp mint salsa verde to cut the richness of the meat. Now, Mrs Ribeye Sr is a bit of a 'packet of sausages and a pound of chicken legs' barbecue cook, but boy-oh-boy, she really loved this dish! Not to say that she would ever make it herself - but she's looking forward to me coming over this summer to ruin her deluxe barbecue machine with gobs of hummusy marinade dripping all over her immaculate gas burners, all over again.

The meat ended up so tender, with a muted, exotic spicy undertone of flavour, reminiscent of old-style Mediterranean beach taverna fare (before the faltering Greek economy made it dearer to go for a week to Corfu than a month's diving holiday in the Maldives, and reduced the Mediterranean beach tavernas to serving frozen chips instead).

Salsa verde, a herby sort of relish, is normally made with parsley, but because I am a bit of a traditionalist, I fancied making it with mint to complement the lamb - in a very Sunday roast kind of a way.You could make this sauce with parsley instead, and it would go fantasically with any meat or fish, or as a dip for crudites. Try it!

Rolled, boneless lamb shoulder is £7.48 per kilo at Tesco in Church St, London NW8, at the moment - half the price of a leg of lamb. All you need to do is take off the string and unroll it, slash it a few times to even out the thickness of the meat, place it in the marinade for a day, and Boom! Spicy, tender lamb, ready for barbecuing or roasting in a hot oven.

Even with the salsa verde, this dish still comes in at £2.50 per serving, with a couple of quid left over to buy some jacket potatoes to serve with it, and still stay on budget. Alternatively, throw caution to the wind and serve my Potato, Bacon and Mushroom Dauphinoise as a side dish. Utterly, deliciously, fabulously amazing.

Serves 4

Hummus-Marinated Roast Lamb


1kg boneless lamb shoulder
200g tub of hummus
50ml olive oil
Large pinches of salt and black pepper

If the lamb is rolled in butchers string, cut it off and unroll it. Slash the thicker parts of the meat with a sharp knife, to ensure that the meat is the same thickness all over (it should be about 1 inch/2-3cm thick), and place in a sandwich bag or large dish. Pour over the hummus and rub it well into the lamb. Close the bag, or cover the dish with clingfilm, and refrigerate preferably overnight, or for at least 2 hours, re-rubbing the marinade into the meat occasionally. Preheat oven or barbecue to 200c. Take the lamb out of the fridge and scrape off as much hummus as possible and mix it with the olive oil. Place the lamb on a baking tray into the oven, or on to the barbecue grill and cook for 1 hour, for medium rare. Brush the reserved marinade onto the meat every 5-10 minutes, turning the meat frequently to ensure even cooking. Season the meat well and serve it with the potatoes, if bought, and the mint salsa verde.


Mint Salsa Verde


Large handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
50ml olive oil
25ml red wine vinegar
3-4 cornichons, finely chopped
2 salted anchovies, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of capers, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of Dijon (or other) mustard
Juice of a lemon
Pinches of salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients. Allow flavours to develop (1 hour at least) until needed.


  1. Nice blog. I found a new way to use leftover roast lamb.

  2. I just checked out your recipe - nice one Carole! I'm a huge salad fan - check out this one:

    Reggie x


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