Quite often I cook something simply so that I can use the leftovers for a meal of a different sort. When G and I were living in our first flat, roasting a chicken was purely an excuse to have leftover chicken to shred and fry in sesame oil with ginger and dried chilli to toss with egg noodles; it was the meal that turned him into a spice lover and being leftovers, came together in a flash. Leftovers can most definitely be the better part of any meal plan and are the starting point of cooking that excites me the most so when I started planning how to use up our freezer food/pantry stock, it was the joint of lamb I was most excited about. Snapped up as a bargain, it was a whopper of a joint that made its potential for leftovers limitless and though I hadn’t planned on starting food prep for Ramadan yet, this dish just begged to be freezer-packed for later. Delicately spiced, tender shreds of meat and melt-in-your-mouth knobs of veggies, it’s the perfect base for a meal. The boys ate it tonight tossed through pasta, it would be delicious on rice and I’m envisioning it wrapped inside a tortilla contrasting perfectly with a rich creamy houmous, the perfect accompaniment to red lentil soup as a complete iftar meal.
Leftover Lamb Ragu
Our oven is never turned on without wrapping garlic in foil and throwing it in because roast garlic is invaluable for simple flavour in dressings and stews and melted into soups and that’s where the base for this meals flavour came from. Into the pressure cooker went a head of roasted garlic, an onion, courgette and a tin of tomatoes. Turmeric, a pinch of cumin, dried basil and oregano, salt, pepper and chunks of the lamb. It simmered for an hour until the lamb was falling apart*. After shredding, I stirred through a good glug of olive oil for good measure. Full of nutrients, tastes divine and couldn’t be simpler to make.
*As Muslims we don’t eat blood so any meat must be cooked medium-well so unless the joint is of the size that we’ll finish it in one meal, I take it out of the oven with the middle still ‘under-done’, meaning the leftover meat finishes cooking while it’s being turned into a leftover meal. If the lamb you had leftover was cooked to your liking, I’d start reducing the sauce before adding the meat to heat through, and probably skip the pressure cooking all together; to just make the sauce, it would need twenty minutes in an ordinary saucepan.