Friday, January 30, 2015

Things to do with Leftover Roast Meat

A few days back I made the Fruity Moroccan Style Lamb that was the topic of my last blog post. Unless you've had a good sized dinner party, making a larger roast will leave you with some significant leftovers. My husband has lately been of the mind that two days in a row of the same thing is enough. Then, it's either make something new, and still have the old leftovers - or make something new with those leftovers. 

Lamb Quesadilla with Pepperjack cheese and cilantro
As a dinner, quesadillas are not my husband's cup of tea, so to speak. I do love the ease of slapping two tortillas together with some cheese and or meat and calling it a meal. This is what I did with some of the leftover lamb. I took a couple of chunks of meat, sliced them and set the meat it between tortillas with some pepper jack cheese slices and cilantro. This was easily heated / melted through in a dry, nonstick skillet and was absolutely delicious and more than enough as a meal for myself. 

Yesterday, amidst many projects, including mixing up the new version of Ras el Hanout spice and getting photos, I was also running through my mind on what to make for dinner. The leftover lamb was still in the fridge. What to do? And then I thought - pot pie! The roast, or more appropriately "braise," had a fairly thick mixture from the pot, in which the onions, dates, apricots all melted into a very flavorful sauce. I thought if I added in a few vegetables and made a bit more sauce, I could easily whip up a pie crust and make a pot pie. That is one thing my husband absolutely loves. Nearly anything in a pie crust is sure to please. To start, I made a pie pastry very simply:

Simple Two-Crust Pie Pastry

for one 9 or 10-inch pie

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup shortening, lard or butter
1 teaspoon salt
5 to 7 tablespoons of water

Cut the fat into the flour and salt with a pastry cutter or forks, or even fingers. Once the mixture looks like large crumbs, add in about 4 or 5 tablespoons of the water, tossing the mixture quickly with a fork. Do not over-work the mixture, but bring it together into one mass. If it does not come together, add in another tablespoon of water and try again. You should not need more than 7 tablespoons of water. Once the mixture comes together, form it into two flat pieces, wrap well and refrigerate for an hour. 
Beautiful New Meal: Lamb Pot Pie

Next, I started creating the filling for the pie. I cut all the remaining meat into small cubes and set that aside. I set aside the remaining mixture from the braise (which contained some tomatoes, dissolved fruits and even some of the rice that was served with it) for later. I chopped onion and started sauteing that, added in garlic and then flour to thicken with some water. Adding in veggies in small cubes to cook with this mixture, it was done in about 20 minutes. The meat and leftover pot mixture went in and the whole was checked for seasoning. All in all it went together quickly. Here is what I did:

Perfect slice of Lamb Pot Pie

Lamb Pot Pie

makes one 9-inch pie

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups water or stock
1 small potato, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled, cubed
15 fresh green beans (1/2 - 3/4 cup), small slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
1 1/2 to 2 cups leftover lamb (or other meat), cubed
1 cup any leftover braise-bits from original roast
6 dried apricots, diced, optional

In a large skillet, over medium heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook about 1 - 2 minutes more. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture in the pan and stir until it has disappeared into the oils in the pan. Off heat, stir in the water or stock until smooth. On the heat again, add in the carrots, green beans and potato with the rosemary, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add in the remaining ingredients, stir and allow the mixture to cool somewhat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (375 on Convection). Roll out one of the two pieces of pastry and fit to a 9-inch pie pan. Trim the edge evenly with the edge of the pan. Once the filling has cooled a bit, pour it into the pie shell. Roll out the second piece of pastry and cover the pie. Trim the edges so they overhand the bottom crust by about 1 inch. Tuck the edge of the top pastry under the edges of the bottom pastry. Crimp all the way around. Poke a few vent holes in the top crust with a sharp knife. Bake the pie for about 45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling has begun to bubble out just a bit. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.