Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Leftover symphonies 1: Lamb in garlic, tomatoes and white wine

I've slated my parents' cooking skills while I was growing up in several previous posts and I've also had a significant go at the British contribution to world cuisine. However there is one thing that puts we Brits on the throne of cooking, at least once a week: The Sunday roast.

I was raised on a Sunday roast every week, be it chicken, beef, pork, lamb. It was the diamond in the dust of otherwise domestic culinary mediocrity. It's very much a British thing which really can't be beaten and it's simplicity means you have to try quite hard to fuck this up. If not the absolute pinnacle of cuisine, it's certainly one of its munroes. Tender, melt-in-the-mouth slivers of meat, roast potatoes, a couple of gently cooked vegies, all caressed in rich gravy and a whisper of the right condiment (mint sauce, horseradish, apple etc), maybe with Yorkshire pudding and or a nice stuffing (and everyone knows nothing's better than a good old fashioned stuffing. Well, unless you fancy a good, hard shag). More than any other facet of weekend life it lessens the impending blow of the working week that you know is heading your way, like the proverbial shit towards the fan, to scatters the last of your weekend comfort into the air when the alarm clock goes off 15 hours later.

As utterly wonderous as the Sunday roast is, I truly fucking hate the leftovers. The cold, roast meat that was a common meal in my household for dinner on Monday, accompanied by chips (fucking chips) and something like baked beans. That once delicate, silken-textured meat has, in the fridge overnight, become some sort of tough, greasy, stringy-textured secondhand chewing gum, akin to freshly lubed shoe leather. It's such a crime to do this with a lovely cut of meat, because those wonderful leftovers could still be used for something nice. It cost enough, why not get yet another decent additional meal out of it? I have tried a few recipes for leftover roast meat in the past and most of them have been, quite frankly, a bit shit. Then we came across this wonderful way to make your leftover lamb almost as nice as the first time out. It's a Spanish dish and I've raved about my love of Spain and its food in the past, and the flavours in this recipe are as Spanish as you can get with all that garlic, the tomatoes and olives.

Preparation: 15 minutes (not including the roasting of the original lamb, obviously)
Cooking: 40 minutes

Cooked, leftover roast lamb, trimmed of any excess fat cut into bite-sized chunks (ideally about 400g for two people)
Plain flour for dusting
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 good-sized cloves of garlic, crushed
3 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (around 400g, or use tinned if out of season)
1 tbsp tomato puree
100ml white wine
salt and pepper to taste
50g pitted green olives (about 25 actual olives in total), drained


Dust the lamb with the flour to lightly coat.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the lamb until it gets a nice golden brown.

Remove it with a slotted spoon to leave the oil behind.

Add the onion and garlic, adding more oil if the pan is too dry.

Fry for 5-10 minutes, so the onions are transparent.

Add the tomatoes and allow them to break down over a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the white wine and tomato puree.

Bring to a low simmer and cover for 10 minutes.

Return the lamb to the pan and stir in to allow it to heat through.

Before serving throw in the olives and mix.

Serve with sauteed or oven-baked potatoes and bread to mop up the sauce.

A decent cut of roast lamb would usually be leg or shoulder. Leg is better as a roast with shoulder usually fattier, though this does add flavour. Either one is good in this dish, but the fattier shoulder probably works better.

The wine cuts through the greasiness as well as tasting great.

Don't skimp on the oil for the first part of frying the lamb as a lot of the rehabilitation of previously roasted meat in this recipe is in the frying part. This also goes for the garlic, you can't use too much garlic. Ever.

Plain olives work in this though I like pimento stuffed ones. These are not to be confused with Olive from On the Buses.
Olives Go for the ones on the right for this dish

In my haste to eat this I forgot to take my usual crappy pictures. What can I say? It's tomatoey, there's lumps of delicately browned meat and it's studded with striking green olives so you get an idea what it looks like. I'll add pics next time I make it.

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