Ready Steady Cook!
SERVES: 4 -6
PREP TIME: 30 mins
COOKING TIME: 4-5 hrs
IDEAL FOR: weekend family meals, friends
‘Ready Steady Cook’
Ever been caught out by friends or family coming over for a last minute meal??
On this occasion, think ‘Ready Steady Cook’? Remember, “Red tomato”, “green pepper”…??
Fern Britton, then celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott hosted a cook show. Two members of the audience provide two celebrity chefs with a bag of ingredients they bought for under a fiver.
The chefs had no prior knowledge of the ingredients. So the challenge was to see which team – Red tomato or Green pepper – made the best dish.
Red Pepper or Green Tomato?
This is how I felt the other day when my dear friend, Peder from London, messaged us to say he was camping in Devon with his two gorgeous girls.
He wanted to ‘swing by’ in the morning and drop off a bag of food to be cooked. Then come back later to have a nice meal together and catch up around our kitchen table. Ahhh, ok Peder…
I have made Peder sound like a bit of, how do you say this politely… umm….??
Turns out Peder wasn’t dropping off the food and expecting me to cook it. He wanted to get the food on a slow cook. Then take the girls out for a fun day and come back later to finish it off the cooking.
In reality, I snatched the ‘Red tomato’ bag and pushed Peder and the girls back out door so they could go off and enjoy a fun day with Dad.
This is what I found in the bag; a lovely leg of lamb (Peder had ordered online in London and simply put in his cooler bag and brought down), onions, carrots and garlic. Wow. Score!
So, here’s what I did in the kitchen so we could go about our work or family fun for the day.
This recipe was inspired by Raymond Blanc. With a few small adaptations was very simple and incredibly flavoursome. Just make a rub. Throw some onions and carrots (whatever’s spare) in the bottom of the tray with some wine and pop in the oven for a long slow cook. Simples.
The sides, I kept super simple too. Honey glazed carrots, dauphinoise potatoes (first time I’d done them actually and super easy!).
After 5 hrs of slow cooking Peder and his hungry girls returned. We just threw the carrots and potatoes alongside the lamb until ready and steamed broccoli stems right at the last minute.
It felt like a super luxurious meal for very little effort.
And we all sat around laughing and chatting until the time came for our intrepid travellers to go back to their soggy tents. Another night out in the wild…. good luck.
Oh and the beauty of this dish…
We packed Peder off with the leftovers so he could make cold lamb sarnies the next day at their campsite. Camping can’t get better than that.
(*yeah, no meal comes for free in our household, when Peder came back, he was put on a job. See below photo…
I’d love to hear any of your last-minute meals or surprise guests where you had to whip up a storm. Drop me a line or leave a comment to share…
I am linking this up to Cook Blog Share.
Slow cooked roast leg of lamb
- 1.5 kg leg of lamb
- 3 onions
- 2 sticks celery
- 4 pinches sea salt
- 2 sprigs rosemary finely chopped
- 3 leaves sage
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bulb garlic halve it horizontally
- 100 ml dry white wine
- 400 ml hot water
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs thyme
- Make the rub and massage all over the leg of lamb with some salt and pepper then let it sit at room temperature for approx. an hour
- Preheat the oven to 230°C/Gas 8.
- Take your roasting pan and heat some oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic, celery roughly chopped and some halved onions until they soften.
- Add in the wine, water, bay leaf and thyme.
- Sit the leg of lamb on top of some of the vegetables (helping keep the lamb off the bottom of the roasting pan so it stays moist and doesn’t burn) and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Turn the oven down to 150ºC/Gas 2. Cover the meat loosely with a piece of foil or my roasting pan has a lid, and return to the oven.
- Roast for a further 4-5 hours, basting every 30 minutes or so with the pan juices until the lamb looks done. You can also add more liquid throughout if you think it’s drying out but if you keep it low and slow, it should come out very tender.
- To make a nice gravy, stir in about 100ml water to extend the jus (if it’s all reduced down).
- Remove the lamb from the oven.
- Reheat the juices until bubbling, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into your gravy boat.
- Strain the juices into a small saucepan and remove the excess fat from the surface.
- Set the lamb aside to rest while you finish of the vegetables.
Take the meat out of the fridge for at least a couple of hours before cooking Lightly score the skin of the lamb