Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Spicy leftover leg of lamb

If you have a roast leg of lamb on Sunday, then on Monday or Tuesday you should almost certainly make this. For one thing, that leg of lamb was probably eye-wateringly expensive, wasn’t it? I tremblingly handed over around £20 for one last week, so I was jolly sure I was going to make the most of it. It fed the four of us a very merry Sunday dinner the first time around (teddy-bear-shaped Yorkshire puddings were involved and so was good Claret - it was the first Sunday meal following a dry January), and would easily have fed four in its second incarnation, had I stirred myself to make it in time for the children’s tea. In the end, husband and I snarfed it between us, with just a tiny bit leftover for my lunch today.

Note, this recipe is a great candidate for cooking in a slow cooker, if you’re organized enough to stick it on at the start of the day. You might want to sauté the ginger paste and the onion/spices on the stovetop first, in order to fully develop the flavours. And I would omit the extra water.

golfball-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled
1 green chilli, stalk cut off and roughly chopped (don’t rub your eyes!)
good glug of sunflower oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 tbsp ground cumin
1tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Any leftover gravy or meat juices
Leftover leg of lamb – with quite a bit of meat left on it, ideally

Put the ginger, garlic and chilli in a food processor or a mini-chopper and pulverize (or you can chop them all finely, or use a Microplane grater for the ginger and garlic) until you have a rough paste. Heat the sunflower oil in the bottom of a large, heavy casserole large enough to accommodate your leg of lamb, add the ginger mixture and stir until it’s softened and fragrant. Add the onion, cumin, coriander and garam masala and stir well to soften. Add the tin of tomatoes and any gravy you have left along with an extra canful of water and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the leg of lamb in the pot, and submerge it under the liquid as best you can. Put the lid on and cook in a 150C oven for two hours, turning over the leg of lamb halfway through cooking if it’s not entirely submerged by the liquid. At the end of the cooking time the lamb should be falling off the bone, at which point you can remove the bone, and chop the flesh into bitesized pieces (which you should pretty much be able to do with a spoon).

Serve with plain basmati rice, and perhaps some cucumber raita (the only acceptable use for cucumber, to my mind – crush some garlic with some salt, add it to a spoonful or two of Greek yoghurt – the low-fat kind is fine – grate in a chunk of cucumber and add some chopped fresh mint, dried mint, or even a teeny bit of mint sauce, for that matter).

Family friendliness rating: The children might  have enjoyed this, had they been given half a chance... but is there anything more dispiriting than shovelling delicious food into the food waste bin? Tempting to shovel it into oneself instead, which is just as dispiriting in its own way!

Cleanup rating: Excellent - it cooks in one pot, plus you're 'cleaning up' leftovers at the same time! (see what I did, there?)

Can I freeze it? I don't see why not

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