It's Australia Day and the almost obligatory lamb is on the menu and when looking for a compatible flavour, rosemary is a perfect match.
While I've used lamb ribs, there's no reason why you couldn't use the same paste for other cuts - from whole shoulders to lamb chops.
garlic cloves, lightly smashed, skin removed
fresh chilli, roughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Make the paste:
There really isn't a right or wrong quantity of rosemary or garlic to use - as a guide for half a kilo of lamb ribs I used 4 finger length sprigs of rosemary, 3 garlic cloves and 1 small green chilli. While you could do this in a food processor I prefer to use a mortar and pestle as I find it gives me a more fragrant result.
Strip the rosemary from the stalks and place in the mortar, add in the smashed garlic and a good pinch of sea salt (the salt helps break down the ingredients) and a little drizzle of olive oil. Pound until the garlic is pulpy and the rosemary has started to break down then add the chopped chilli. Pour in a little more olive oil and continue to work the mixture until it forms a rough paste.
Place the lamb ribs in a bowl and pour over the paste - using your hands, rubs the paste into the ribs to make sure they are evenly coated. You can now store this covered in the fridge until ready to cook - make sure you bring it back to room temperature before cooking.
Line the bottom of a baking tray with thickly sliced onion, then arrange the ribs evenly over the top making sure that they don't overlap. Finish off with a good grinding of sea salt and black pepper.
Place in a preheated 160°C oven and cook for about 45 minutes - they should be starting to brown at this stage so give them a turn - make sure you keep the onions bedded under the ribs as you want them to soak in all those lamb juices but not burn. Pop the tray back into the oven for another 45 minutes.
Once they have evenly browned and the lamb and onions are soft, give the ribs a turn and drizzle lightly over with honey. Return to the oven, increasing the heat slightly so that the honey caramelises.
These are best enjoyed hot from the oven.