3 May 2012

Using up the leftover roast

What a wonderful collection of comments we had yesterday. If you haven't read them yet, make yourself a cuppa, sit down for an hour and read through them. Those comment clearly demonstrates what a wide and diverse group we are. I was fascinated by the variety of work we do, and how an ordinary day can be so different for all of us and yet we're still connected by our work and our lives. I loved reading about your day and I appreciate so many many of you taking the time to comment - I know from my own personal experience that taking that time sometimes seems too much but it really does give us time to slow ourselves down, to connect with others and to understand that none of us is alone.


I love leftovers. When I can, I always add more vegetables to a meat meal so we have leftovers that can be eaten the following day or frozen for another day in the future. One recent leftover delight was this lamb curry.  Originally a baked lamb shoulder, it was enjoyed with baked potatoes, pumpkin, onions and sweet potato. Way too much for one meal, we had the meat for sandwiches the next day for lunch and that night I finished off the shoulder and the roasted vegetables by making up this lamb curry.  The recipe could be used for any pre-cooked meat or vegetables and you could replace the curry for chilli, or leave out the spice altogether and make a lamb stew.

One of the reasons this works so well as a leftover meal is that most of the cooking has already been done, the flavour has already developed and the meat and vegetables have areas of caramelisation on them. It really is just a matter of chopping up the leftovers, adding fresh vegetables and spices if you need to, and making a sauce.

In the photo above, I chopped up the leftover roasted vegetables and added a carrot and capsicum (pepper), onion and tomato left over from the lunch sandwiches. These were added to a pan to heat up and start cooking.

While that was happening, I cut all the meat off the bones.

See that brown colouring on the end of the bone, that is pure flavouring. It's caramelisation - it happens when the sugars in the meat (or vegetables) start cooking slowly and the water evaporates, turning the meat brown and changing the flavour.

When the vegetables have cooked, add the meat and the bones to take advantage of those caramelised bits, then add enough water to partially cover the meat and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. You don't have to add any stock or flavourings from a tin or pouch, you'll get the flavour from the bones and pre-cooked meat.

When everything is cooked, you can either thicken the sauce by letting it evaporate, or if you're cooking for a few people and need to bulk the meal out with sauce and rice, thicken it with cornflour or arrowroot. Simply mix a tablespoon (or two in a larger meal) of cornflour with half a cup of water and mix until no lumps remain. Add that to the meat and vegetables and stir in well. Cook it for a further minute to cook out the flour taste, and your meal is ready. Serve with rice or mashed potato. It's fast, very tasty and economical.

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