31 March 2011

Lovely Leg of Lamb....

So I told you about the big reduced haul from yesterday but I forgot to take a picture of the leg of lamb that I got - but no matter - you get to see it today!
The reduced tag shows you that I got this leg of lamb at just slightly under 57% less than normal price. We don't have it very often - leg of lamb - unless it's a special holiday or like this on offer or reduced. But at this price I really couldn't pass it up. For the two of us this would be two meals at least. So I dutifully oiled it a bit, topped it with some sea salt flakes and some cracked pepper. I then made some slits in the meat for some garlic - just to add the flavour - I save it for my next meal as its usually a bit too much for even me (and I love garlic!).
It cooked for about an hour and I then tossed in some potatoes just as they are - a bit cut up so that they all cook for the same amount of time. I again salted and peppered them as usual. By now there was enough oil/juices in the pan to coat the potatoes which I did toss them around a bit before slipping it back into the oven.
This is the remains - we were both too hungry to get a before picture! But look at those lovely brown bits on the baking tray....what to do? I must admit I try to eke out as much as possible from everything I buy or make. Rather like a restaurant does - which is a good lesson in life.

Anyway, when I roast something there is always some good flavour bits on the tray. Now back to how to rescue this and make it usable? Almost always I have some sort of steamed veggie for dinner but if not plain old water will do. In the case of tonight we had steamed green beans. So I remove all the good stuff I can to one bowl and to the tray I add a bit of the veggie water. Not a lot just enough to begin scrapping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. I then turn on the burner (to medium-low) and continue to scrape as I go along and soon you have a lovely sauce of gravy like stuff. I pour this into another bowl and then again do another lot of water to the pan and again get up any of the brown bits that didn't come off the first time. Below is a picture of what I got from the pan with all those lovely brown bits - what a deep brown colour! FLAVOUR!!
It depends on the meat I've roasted as sometimes I have to do this three times (usually with chicken). And before you ask me why why used veggie water - why not? I've cleaned my veggies (most are organic if possible) and as most anyone can see you toss that stuff down the drain - it has flavour in it! If I don't have a use for the water right then I will give it to my plants who certainly love having the extra vitamins. I must admit I don't do this with potato or cauliflower water - too smelly! I suppose it wouldn't matter if it went on outside plants but we don't have a yard here in the flats.

Now what do I do with this lovely brown liquor? If I making a soup - I use it there. I normally refrigerate the bowl and skim off the fat on top as usually with lamb there might be a lot (depending on the cut) but the rest is great for a soup. But for this liquid I'm going to make a lamb/barley leftover dinner so it will help infuse the barley when cooking it. If I'm not making something like this with the leftovers I will save it for a risotto or something like that where I want a flavour booster. You can even freeze it and add to other batches if you have the room. I usually don't have the freezer room UK freezers are like 1/4 the size of American ones.

As with most things you have to do a bit of planning and preparation but once you have begun the process it is so simple to keep up with it. So the next time you roast something remember - there is flavour in them there bits! Enjoy!


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