Gimme five! My spicy dish will make the most of a leftover lamb

Weekend Foodie: Recipes for crispy five spice lamb, and apricot rice pudding
Gimme five! My spicy dish will make the most of a leftover lamb

TASTY OPTION: Di Curtin’s Crispy Five Spice Lamb In Lettuce Cups — the recipe would work well with leftover turkey at Christmas too

YOU know those moments when your eyes are bigger than your belly? I had one not too long ago — spotting some beautiful legs of this year’s Irish spring lamb on sale at my local Supervalu supermarket.

Pink and plump, and with a more developed flavour this time year, they were too tempting to pass by. A big Sunday roast of lamb with mint sauce was definitely going to be on the cards.

What I hadn’t thought of though, in my moment of greed, was that there was only going to be two of us to chomp our way through a whole leg of lamb. To say the girl child has an appetite is no understatement. But even she would have had trouble working through this much meat!

If, like me, you end up with too much lamb leftover after a roast dinner, there’s lots you can do with the cooked meat afterwards.

Sliced lamb can be reheated successfully in a little oil for a quick version of doner kebabs, served in warm pitta breads with salad and spicy chilli sauce. You can also chop the meat finely and use for a Shepherd’s Pie, topped with fluffy mash made from new season Kerr Pinks. . It freezes well too, so you can save for a speedy lamb curry further down the line.

This weekend, I’m digging out one of my favourites for cooked lamb. Crispy Five Spice lamb served in lettuce cups, can be bulked out with stir fried noodles with veggies for a main course.

The cooked lamb is briefly marinated in a mix of Chinese Five Spice and Soy Sauce, before being shallow fried crisp in hot oil. Throw in a few quartered cherry tomatoes then serve the hot crispy lamb garnished with fresh chilli, spooned into iceberg lettuce ‘cups’, which make a cooling and crunchy compliment.

This idea is worth tucking up your sleeve as the festive season approaches, because it works with leftover roast turkey too.

The nights have drawn in and winter is most definitely on its way. Comfort puddings are the order of the day, if you fancy making a dessert this weekend.

Try this old fashioned nursery rice pud, smartened up with the tangy fruit of semi dried apricots. Serve it with cream for a luxurious finish.

CRISPY FIVE SPICE LAMB IN LETTUCE CUPS

Ingredients (serves 4) 400g cooked leftover lamb 1 good tsp Chinese Five Spice 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped Soy sauce to taste Sunflower oil for frying 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered 4 whole iceberg lettuce leaves Sliced fresh green chilli to decorate (optional) Sweet chilli sauce to finish Method Cut the lamb into thin strips and place in a bowl.

Add five spice, garlic and soy and toss together to coat the meat evenly.

Heat enough oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan to shallow fry the meat. The oil must be very hot before you start cooking as you want the meat to be crispy.

Add the meat, in batches if necessary, and cook for a few minutes till heated through, browned and crispy.

Add tomatoes to pan with meat and cook for a further few seconds til they just soften.

Remove lamb and tomatoes with a slotted spoon and pile into the lettuce cups.

Decorate with fresh chilli if using and a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce

APRICOT RICE PUDDING

Apricot Rice Pudding
Apricot Rice Pudding

Ingredients (serves 4-6) 100g short grain pudding rice 40g sugar 75g semi dried apricots, snipped 750mls milk 100mls cream Good grating fresh whole nutmeg ½ tsp ground cinnamon Method Mix rice, sugar, and apricots and spread in an even layer over the base of a well buttered ovenproof dish.

Heat the milk and cream gently but don’t boil.

Pour over the rice mix. Scatter over nutmeg and cinnamon.

Place in a pre-heated oven and bake at Gas 4 350F 180C for 60-90 mins, or till top is golden and rice is tender.

Cover with foil if the top becomes too brown before the rice is tender. The grains should be soft with a little moistness still left in the mix.

Spoon into serving dishes and serve with extra cream.

WINE ACCOMPANIMENT

THIS is a casual supper which could easily be matched with a beer.

Tiger is an Asian bee from Singapore, designed to be matched with Asian-style foods.

Malted barley as an ingredient in this beer gives a full, rich flavour, with a touch of spice behind. Really quenching too, with a zippy little touch of lime zest on the finish.

It will handle the aromatic headiness of the five spice mix and the salty savouriness of of the soy. It’s also a good beer with Thai and Indian curries too.

Pick yourself a four pack of 330ml bottles at Supervalu this weekend, which come in a handy carry out box. Pop them in the fridge for an hour to lightly chill and bring out that spicy flavour. €6.89 as part of the Usuals range at Supervalu stores.

RECEIPT

MAIN DISH Chinese Five Spice mix 48g jar €2.74 Soy Sauce 150ml €3.18 Cherry tomatoes 250g 79c Garlic net of 3 €1 Iceberg lettuce x 1 piece 89c Total: €8.60

DESSERT Pudding rice 500g €2.30 Ready to eat dried apricots 250g €2.69 Milk 1ltr 99c Cream 225mls €1 Whole nutmeg 25g €2.75 Total: €9.73

GRAND TOTAL: €18.33

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