Last weekend we treated ourselves to a leg of lamb.
It was a last minute idea to do slow roast shoulder of lamb for Sunday dinner but when Nick got to the butcher's shop late on Saturday afternoon, the person in front of him bought the last shoulder joint. There were a couple of leg joints left so he picked the smallest which weighed about 2kg.
It's interesting to think that when I was a child my mum would cook a shoulder of lamb most Sundays because it was the cheapest joint she could buy. Pork was an occasional treat and we rarely had a joint of beef because she couldn't afford it. The only beef we normally had was skirt or shin beef made into a delicious beef stew. Chicken was served only for special occasions, just a few times a year for Christmas, Easter and sometimes Bank Holidays. How things have changed. Chicken is now an everyday meal and lamb is a treat.
We studded the lamb joint with some garlic cloves and sprigs of rosemary and cooked it for about 5 hours, after which it was juicy, tender and fell off the bone. Delicious.
The next question was - what to do with the leftovers?
I would normally make shepherd's pie with leftover lamb but this time there was a lot of it, more than for just one pie. Another favourite is "Sunday dinner pie", where all the leftovers, including the veg and gravy, are put in a pie dish under a pastry lid and baked in the oven. Sadly we had eaten all the veg, the gravy was destined for the shepherd's pie and the only other thing left was a small dish of new(ish) potatoes. So I settled down with a mug of coffee and a pile of my cook books to look for ideas.
This River Cottage book was a recent purchase from a charity shop (where else?) for just £1.
In this book, amongst the ideas for leftover lamb there was a recipe for lamb salad. We don't often have salad in the evenings, Nick especially being a "salad for lunch, hot meal in the evening" kind of traditionalist. I decided to go wild and make the salad, or at least a variation of Hugh's recipe. Essentially it was a pile of lettuce, the potatoes coated in mint sauce, lamb and peas. Delicious.
Slow roast leg of lamb
2 kg joint of leg of lamb
1 bulb of garlic
4-5 sprigs of rosemary
1 glass of red or white wine
1 pint of lamb or beef stock
1 large onion
2 large carrots
Peel the onion and carrots and slice thickly. Put them in a single layer in a roasting tin with a lid.
Stab the joint several times to make slits in the skin. Tuck peeled cloves of garlic and small tufts of rosemary into each slit and sit the joint on the veg. Drop the remaining unpeeled cloves of garlic into the tin beside the meat and lay a couple of twigs of rosemary over the top. Pour the wine and stock into the tin, season with salt and pepper.
Put the lid on and cook in the oven at 140 Fan for about 5 hours until the meat is tender and cooked through. Remove the meat from the oven and from the tin and rest on a board, covered in foil to keep warm, while you make the gravy in the roasting tin.
Serves at least 8, with veg, gravy and mint sauce.
3/4 of a romaine lettuce (or any other you prefer), shredded and washed
a good few cooked new potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 heaped tsp mint sauce from a jar (or home made of course)
1 large or 2 small spring onions, sliced
2 handfuls frozen peas, cooked
1 small avocado, peeled stoned and cut into wedges
strips of cooked leftover lamb from the joint, as many as you like according to appetite
Chopped herbs (parsley, chives) (optional)
Pile the washed, shredded salad leaves into a large bowl.
Put the potato chunks into a small bowl with the mint sauce and stir until the potatoes are coated in the sauce.
Scatter the peas, potatoes, lamb, avocado and onions over the salad leaves, season with salt and pepper, add some chopped herbs if using, toss lightly and serve with chunks of bread.