Chefs' Recipes

Alpha's slow-roasted lamb spare ribs with thyme honey and ouzo glaze

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for slow-roasted lamb spare ribs with thyme honey and ouzo glaze by Alpha restaurant in Sydney.

By Peter Conistis
  • 35 mins preparation
  • 3 hrs 45 mins cooking plus cooling, chilling
  • Serves 4 - 6
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Slow-roasted lamb spare ribs with thyme honey and ouzo glaze
"This is a dish I created with my mum, Eleni," says Conistis. "The thyme honey and ouzo makes it more-ish."


  • 2 kg lamb breasts
  • 1.5 litres chicken stock (6 cups)
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • To serve: lemon wedges
Thyme honey and ouzo glaze
  • 60 ml ouzo
  • 2 tbsp Greek-style thyme honey (see note)
  • 1½ tbsp pomegranate or sumac molasses
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp dried Greek oregano (see note at left)
Blood orange hummus
  • 400 gm canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 75 gm unhulled tahini, plus ½ tsp oil from the top of the jar
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 50 ml each lemon juice and blood orange juice
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • To taste: cayenne pepper


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 120C. Place lamb breasts in a baking dish, cover with stock, wine, garlic, thyme and sumac and season to taste. Cover tightly with foil and braise until very tender (3 hours). Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until fat solidifies (2 hours). Spoon off excess fat (discard), drain braising liquid from lamb (reserve 200ml), cut breasts into ribs, return to pan and set aside.
  • 2
    For thyme honey and ouzo glaze, bring reserved braising liquid to the simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, add glaze ingredients and season to taste.
  • 3
    Increase oven to 200C. Pour ouzo glaze over lamb ribs and roast, basting occasionally, until well browned and sticky (45 minutes).
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for blood orange hummus, remove and discard any skins from chickpeas if necessary. Process in a food processor with tahini, tahini oil, garlic, cumin and ½ tsp salt; add a few tablespoons of water to loosen the mixture and blend until smooth. Add citrus juices and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • 5
    Serve blood orange hummus with lamb ribs and lemon wedges.


Note Greek-style thyme honey is available from Greek delicatessens; otherwise use regular.
Drink Suggestion: 2010 Voyatzi Tsapournakos Velvendo, Greece. Drink suggestion by Vanessa Chant