Thursday, January 30, 2014

The freezer incident

Recently during our extremely annoying heat wave our kids (or perhaps my Mum) unplugged the deep freezer in out garage. This was, as you can imagine, one of those moments where you just had to shrug and make the best of it (there may have been some yelling involved). I have a tendency to hoard food (because of the upcoming zombie/nuclear apocalypse) and I do not have an army living here thus the chickens got a very nice lunch. The one thing I managed to salvage was a leg of lamb which was still mostly frozen. My husband is not a big fan of the leg of lamb type baked dinner that we are all used to so I had to get clever. It took a day for the lamb to thaw which gave me time to come up with a recipe.
My mum's veggie garden was exploding so I took a few zucchini and lots of different tomatoes home and then I figured out what to make. It was really easy but you might want to do this one on a cool day instead of the 40º day I chose. Sooooo hot.

Slow cooked lamb with baked ratatouille

1 small leg of lamb 
10 cloves of garlic peeled and 3 sliced
4-5 large tomatoes
1 packet of cherry tomatoes
3 zucchini/summer squash
2 medium eggplant
2 onions 
1 red capsicum (bell pepper)
2 teaspoons dried or fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Olive oil 
salt and pepper

Cut the egg plant in to large chunks and place in a colander. Sprinkle liberally with salt and set aside. 
Cut some small deep holes in the lamb and place slices of garlic in to the holes. Do this all over. Use 2-3 cloves of garlic. Then pat it dry and rub olive oil salt and pepper all over it. Place in a very hot oven 450º F for 20 mins. 
Chop the zucchini, onions, tomatoes and capsicum in to large chunks. Leave the cherry tomatoes whole. Rinse the eggplant.
Reduce the oven to 250º F
Take the lamb out and add all the veggies and garlic to the pan. Sprinkle with oregano and smoked paprika and olive oil and put it back in the oven. Periodically baste the lamb with the juice from the veggies. Cook for another 2 hours or until your lamb is cooked and the veggies are soft. This will not be a rare or medium rare lamb. It is cooked all the way and becomes very tender. 
There will be a pile of soft roasted veggies and lots of juice. If you find you do not have enough juice you could add some white wine or water or chicken stock to the pan. I did not need to do this. We turned the leftovers in to a pie... yummo. 

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