Inspired by Hotel Chocolat ‘Roast & Conch’ Restaurant

White Chocolate Mash, which I had with the 4-Hour Lamb Pepperpot last weekend

Last weekend, I met up with a friend of mine in Leeds for a late lunch.  She suggested we go to ‘Roast & Conch‘, a Restaurant by Hotel Chocolat, where all the food contains cocoa (or, to say it properly, Cacao).

I thought that, given my love of chocolate, this was an inspired idea, and it turned out to be a fantastic lunch!

I had a starter of Potted Mackerel Ganache, followed by the 4-Hour Lamb Pepperpot with White Potato Mash.  I loved it so much that I bought a bag of Cacao Nibs there and then and resolved to try to recreate the experience at home.

The result: Cocoa and Red Wine slow-cooked Lamb with White Chocolate and Cocoa Nib Butter Mash

Slow-cooked Lamb in Red Wine and Cocoa Nibs | White Chocolate Mash

Ingredients – for the lamb (for 4 people)

  • half a shoulder of lamb joint
  • approx. half a 75cl bottle of red wine
  • a few cocoa nibs to sprinkle
  • a generous sprinkling of cocoa powder
  • fine sea salt
  • a knob of butter
  • 2tbsp of olive oil

Ingredients – for the white chocolate mash (for 4 people)

Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Nibs | Cacao Nibs | Cocoa Nibs
Cacao Nibs
  • approx. 1.2 kg potatoes
  • 200ml extra thick double cream
  • 100g white chocolate

Ingredients – for the cocoa nib butter (this makes enough for 2 meals)

  • 1tbsp cocoa nibs
  • 125g salted butter, at room temperature so it’s malleable and soft


Tip: If you don’t have a slow-cooker, start off at about 120°C for ‘high’ and go to about 90°C for ‘low’.

Turn on a slow-cooker (on ‘high’).  In a non-stick frying pan, heat up the olive oil and knob of butter to a gentle sizzle.  Season one side of the lamb with sea salt and a generous sprinkling of cocoa powder, then place the seasoned side into the sizzling oil and butter to brown.  Repeat the seasoning and cocoa sprinkling on the other side.

Add a moderate sprinkling of cocoa nibs and continue to brown on all sides on a high heat, then pour on the wine.  It should almost instantly come to a sizzle/boil.  Turn off the heat immediately.

Place the lamb into the slow cooker and pour on the juices/wine from the frying pan.  Cover with a lid and leave to cook for an hour or so before turning down the slow-cooker to0 ‘low’.

Leave to cook for a further 5 hours or until the lamb falls off the bone and can be cut with a spoon (approx. total cooking time 6 hours, but this will depend on the size of the half shoulder).

cocoa nib butter
‘sausage-shaped’ cocoa nib butter once it’s cooled/set

About half an hour before the meat is ready (Tip: you can do this much earlier and keep in the fridge until needed), mix the soft room temperature butter with the tablespoon of cocoa nibs.  Place it onto a piece of clingfilm and, using the clingfilm as a barrier between your hands and the butter, roll it into a sausage shape.  Once you have the approximate shape, roll the clingfilm tightly around the butter mixture and twist the ends (like a sweet wrapper) so that the butter is squeezed into a tight sausage shape.  Place in the freezer for half an hour until hard but not frozen, then transfer to the fridge if you’ve done this in advance.  When it’s time to serve, slice into 0.5cm thick slices with a sharp knife.

Towards the end of the cooking time, peel the potatoes and cut them into approx. 2cm cubes.  Boil them or cook them in a pressure cooker until they’re cooked and crumbly but not soggy (Alternatively, for the ‘purist’ way of doing mash, boil the potatoes with their skins on, then peel them while hot to mash them immediately.  This is quite time-consuming when it’s critical to keep them hot and you need to be very careful not to burn your hands!).

Remove the lamb from the slow-cooker about 10 mins before serving time, cover with tin-foil to keep warm and allow to ‘rest’.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat up the cream in a pan on a gentle heat and add the white chocolate, broken off into squares and gently stir as the chocolate melts into the cream.  Do not boil.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and place them into a bowl or back into the drained pan.  Pour on the cream and chocolate mixture and mash vigorously to obtain a smooth consistency.

Carve the lamb (it should be falling off the bone and almost carving itself into chunks rather than slices) and serve on warmed plates.  Add a generous portion of white chocolate mash to each plate and top each portion of hot white chocolate mash with a slice of the cocoa nib butter.  Drizzle on some of the red wine and cocoa nib sauce.  Serve immediately!

This dish sounds more complicated than it is – it’s actually quite simple to do, there are a few steps but none of them is difficult.  Try it – it will delight and surprise your tastebuds!

Lamb in a red wine, cocoa powder and cocoa nib sauce with white chocolate mash and cocoa nib butter – Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

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