Smoky, charred hunks of juicy meat, vibrant salads and enough sangria and ice cold beers to sink a rubber dinghy off Bawdsey beach; there is nothing better than a Summer BBQ.
Well, come on now, let's be frank...I mean, finding a winning lottery ticket in the back pocket of your jeans or discovering that Ryan Gosling is the newest member of your weekly Body Pump class would give that smoldering box of charcoal and bowl of mayo drenched potato salad a slightly convincing run for it's money, but in my mind that really is about it.
Call it British charm, or perhaps the result of far too many al-fresco plans ruined by stormy skies and sudden downpours in the so called Summer months of old, but just as linen shorts and last year's battered flip flops wiggle their way to the front of the wardrobe as soon as the sun comes out, browse the aisles of any supermarket at the start of a seemingly sunny weekend and stocks of sausages and finger rolls will be ravaged, disposable barbies will be selling like Frozen DVDs at Christmas and crates of beer will almost be growing legs and walking themselves out to the boot of your car.
And for me, this sticky, richly spiced Persian lamb recipe is the BBQ-bomb.
Richly spiced, deliciously fruity and finger-lickingly sticky; this flavour packed dish is a true Summer sensation. Use the marinade on juicy lamb fillets, slather over steaks for the ultimate meat feast, or if the weather is more torrential than tropical; let the vibrant flavours ramp up the yum-factor of your Sunday slow roast shoulder.
Piled up on platters with salty, mint spiked feta cream, smoky blackened aubergine wedges drizzled with nutty tahini, griddled Suffolk asparagus and a smattering of jewel hued pomegranate; this is my go-to dish of the Summer, no question about it.
Best served with an ice cold glass of herb spiked rose sangria, or a glass of spicy, full bodied red; just make sure you have a wad of napkins ready to wipe those gloriously rich, pomegranate studded juices from your chin...
Persian Lamb with Feta Cream and Pomegranate, serves 4.
For the Lamb
1 medium butterflied lamb leg
4 tbsp pomegranate mollases
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp ras al hanout
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground corriander
Small bunch mint, leaves chopped
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 small red chilli, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed slightly with the back of a knife
Salt and pepper
A glug of white wine and a knob of butter (for your sauce)
For the feta cream
200g feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
Small bunch of mint, leaves chopped
Small bunch of coriander, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Marinade the lamb up to a few hours before serving, ideally the night before.
In a large bowl, combining the herbs, spices, oil, lemon juice, garlic, chilli and honey. Squeeze in the juice and seeds of half a pomegranate and season well. Add the lamb, cover and leave to marinade, covered, overnight.
Make your feta cream up to an hour before serving- In a food processor, combine all the ingredients until you have a smooth cream. Season well, adding a little more yoghurt to loosen if necessary. Leave in the fridge until ready to serve
When you are ready to serve, preheat your oven to 200oc, ramp up the BBQ and pour the drinks…
Transfer the lamb shoulder to a roasting tray and roast in the oven, covered tightly with foil for around 40 minutes (for medium, slightly longer for well done)
When the BBQ is hot, transfer the part cooked shoulder carefully to the BBQ and brush with some of the marinade. Cook until charred and caramelised on each side, being careful for spitting and flames, for around 15 minutes.
Leave to rest, covered in foil, for about 10 minutes
To serve, slice the lamb fillets and arrange on top of the feta cream. Let your imagination run wild with your sides- I love chunks of charred aubergine, potatoes roasted with garlic and saffron, grilled asparagus and a smattering of fresh pomegranate seeds and creamy feta!