I just love all the dark and moody complementary flavours of this number as well as how much I can prep ahead. A simple reheat on the day, makes it super time- and crowd-friendly.
1kg lamb ribs
330ml beer (I used a Stone and Wood pale ale but you could use a darker style of ale)
2 tbsp white miso paste
3 tbsp golden syrup
100ml apple cider vinegar
decent pinch salt flakes
Smoky eggplant yoghurt sauce
2 medium eggplants
½ cup Persian-style feta
zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp yoghurt
1 tbsp tahini
1½ tbsp olive oil
¼ cup quick pickled onion (recipe here)
½ bunch coriander leaves
small handful mint leaves
arils from 1 pomegranate
1. Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced (220C conventional).
2. For the lamb combine all the marinade ingredients in a large baking dish. Add the ribs and cover with baking paper and foil, seal with the lid and bake for 1 hour. Remove the lid, baking paper and foil and cook uncovered for another 30-40 minutes. You want the ribs to look caramelised and the sauce to have reduced significantly.
3. Remove from the oven, and using tongs, carefully remove the ribs (be careful as they will be soft). Skim off some of the fat from the sauce. You can char the ribs for 1-2 minutes on the barbecue or reheat in the oven if not using immediately. Season with salt and pepper.
4. While the lamb is cooking, you can char the eggplant. The best results are using a barbecue grill where you can put the lid down to maximise the heat and get a smokier flavour. Grill the eggplant until the skin is completely blackened and the flesh feels soft when you pierce it with a paring knife (about 45 minutes). If a grill is unavailable, you can roast the eggplant in a 200C oven instead. Place eggplant on a lightly greased baking tray. Prick the eggplant in a few spots. Roast for about 45 minutes, turning it over halfway through roasting. Again, you want the skin to be black.
5. Allow to cool until you can handle the eggplants. Cut lengthways and gently scoop out the flesh directly into a blender. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and pulse very briefly until it just comes together. Season with salt and pepper. (You can keep this sauce covered in the fridge for 3 days if not using immediately.)
6. When ready to serve, bring the smoky eggplant yoghurt sauce to room temperature (or warm, if using immediately after making) and smear generously in the centre of a large serving platter. Grill the ribs on a barbecue plate for about 5 minutes, reserving some of the sauce, or simply return them to the baking dish and place over medium heat until warmed through and the sauce has reduced further.
7. Using tongs, carefully add the lamb ribs to the platter and spoon over any residual cooking liquid – there won't be much and what will be left will be quite thick and unctuous. Add the salad ingredients to the side. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve.