Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Warm lamb salad with spicy pumpkin

First published Canberra Times 3 November 2010.
If like me, you always seem to end up with leftover meat from roast dinners, then this dish could be a solution to the mid-week dinner dilemma. I have used left over roast lamb here, although left over chicken works equally well. The Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavour combinations of lemon, oregano and cumin gives a lift to most meats, perfect for a barbecue and outside eating at this time of year.

An alternative to using leftovers, is to marinate a whole fresh de-boned leg of lamb marinated in the same herbs and spices, cooking it as one whole piece on either a barbecue or in a woodfired oven, then resting it and slicing. It works particularly well roasted in the woodfired oven, and I have had great results doing it that way.

Steve and I have had an ongoing debate about which method tastes the best, the twice cooked lamb or in a whole piece, and he believes that his way, cooked as a whole piece, delivers a more moist and tender result. I tend to disagree, and prefer the crispy, drier texture that is reminiscent of a lamb kebab. I also say, it’s done my way, if I’m cooking.

This recipe, has been one of our family favourites for a number of years. They have re-named it Tricky Lamb and it sits pretty high on the list of most requested dinners when the kids visit. The lamb, when cooked, is quite dry and crispy but is offset by the moisture in the dressing and the hommus. To obtain the crispy texture and smoky flavours, cook the meat on a high heat. If you don’t have a barbecue, you could use a wok or a frypan and cook on top of the stove, and don’t worry if there are crunchy scrapings on the bottom of the pan, just add them into the meat.
Serves 4

3 cups cooked lamb leg, sliced from a roast (or de-boned leg of lamb)
2 cups pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced
3 lemons, juice one and slice the remainder into thick rings
Photo Steve Shanahan
1tsp cinnamon, ground
2tbsp cumin, ground
2tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp cinnamon, ground extra
1tsp salt
ground black pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
bag of mixed and washed salad leaves
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
¼ cup olive oil extra and 4 tbsp balsamic mixed together
1 cup hommus

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Add the diced pumpkin to a roasting pan and sprinkle with a drizzle of olive oil, 1 tsp cinnamon and ground black pepper. Roast for about 10 minutes or until golden and caramelised. Remove from oven and set aside.

If using fresh meat, prepare and marinate ahead of time. Mix the lemon juice, cumin, 1 tsp cinnamon, oregano, salt, pepper and 4tbsp of the olive oil together and pour over meat. Tuck the sliced lemon rings around and under the meat. Leave to marinate overnight or a few hours. Heat barbecue grill to high and lay meat flat to grill about 10 minutes each side, this will give you a medium to rare result. Grill the lemon rings as well until golden and caramelised. When cooked removed from grill and cover with foil and leave aside to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing.

If using left over sliced lamb, marinate the lamb in the lemon juice and 4 tbsp of olive oil for about 10 to 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the cumin, 1 tsp cinnamon, oregano, salt and pepper together. Heat the barbecue plate or a wok to a high heat, when hot add the marinated meat and stir to keep moving. Add the mixed spices to the meat and mix until charred and smoky. This should take no more than 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan or hotplate to a clean plate.

Mix diced onion and tomato in a large bowl. Add the salad leaves,the tomato and onion mixture, the roasted pumpkin and toss gently to mix. Place the salad onto serving plates, drizzle with balsamic and oil dressing, add a serving of lamb for each and a large dollop of hommus.

If you use the de-boned lamb method, place the sliced meat on the salad and continue to plate the same way as above.

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