Slow cooked lamb with aubergine (egg plant) and bay….

Slow cooked lamb with aubergine and bay

Well I was planning to do a barbeque today, but somewhat unsurprisingly  was thwarted by the weather. Mind you, I don’t know why I’m complaining, we already had our allocated 3 days of British summer last week. Who am I to argue with the climate? Although, with Wimbledon coming up I would have thought at least most of the rain would be saved up for that fortnight..? Who knows eh?

Anyhow, in an effort to combat disappointment, I decided to make a simple but effective slow cooked lamb dish, one of those where it’s practically impossible to go wrong, and which would leave me plenty of time to stare out of the window at the awful weather.

It’s inspired in part by a Kleftico recipe given to me by friend/colleague/Greek gastronome extraordinaire John Themis, the main point of which is simplicity to really let the flavour of lamb and bay come through.

In this case, however, I was remembering a flavour I used to taste in my mother’s homemade meat and potato pies as a boy…which turned out to be nothing more (or less) than worcester sauce.
The idea with the aubergine is to let it cook down slowly, eventually reducing, together with the onions and garlic, into a delicious thick clinging sauce, similar to a fricassee – and I’m a big fan of browning the meat at the end, open in the oven, until it is unashamedly blackened and caramelized…… I make no apologies here for the “burnt bits” (normally my privilege to scrape them off the sides of the pan with a teaspoon at the end…)
Also, instead of using salt or stock for the sauce, I decided to let the tried and tested marriage of lamb and anchovies (as on my last post) have another well deserved outing…

Here’s what you need:

What you'll need


  • 1.5 lb lamb shoulder on the bone, cut into chunks by the butcher
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 aubergine
  • 10-15 peppercorns
  • 5 bayleaves
  • 1 tin anchovies
  • 1 tablespoon worcester sauce
  • Boiling water
  • a sprinkling of course grained rock or sea salt

First switch the oven on medium high (I used 190C fan)
Slice the onions and the garlic.
Next, gently heat up some olive oil in the pot, and decant the tin of anchovies into it. Don’t let the oil get to hot or the anchovies will burn.
Start to mash the anchovies up with the back of a wooden spoon. This will get easier as they warm up.

Mash the anchovies

Continue this until the anchovies have disintegrated completely as shown below:

Anchovies dissolved

Next add the onions and garlic and soften for a few minutes:

Add the onions and garlic

Meanwhile, chop the aubergine into chunks:

Chop the aubergine

When the onions and garlic have softened a little, arrange the lamb in the pot, and insert the bay leaves in between the lamb pieces.
Crush the black peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and sprinkle over the lamb and bay:

Arrange the lamb

Then, add a tablespoon of Worcester sauce. (Remember to shake the bottle first):

Add the aubergine cubes and enough boiling water to just about cover the lamb.

Add aubergine and freshly boiled water

Cover tightly with foil and the lid, and place in the oven.
Leave on the high setting for 1 hour, then turn down to a medium low setting (150C fan).

Cover with foil and lid and place in the oven

After about two and a half hours I checked on the lamb. It had dried up quite  a lot, so I added a bit more boiling water. The aubergines had disintegrated as planned though, so I could mush them up into a creamy sauce.

Mash the aubergines

I replaced the lid for a further 1/2 hour, then removed it, sprinkled with the salt, and put it back in the oven to brown for 15 mins.

It was then ready to serve:

Browned and ready to serve

To accompany, I served it with steamed quinoa and wilted spring greens (oh, and a glass of red wine..)