Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Roast Experiment

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was considering the possibility of doing a big roast at the weekend and then harvesting lots of leftovers for the following week. Since then, we have attempted this experiment twice, once with a roast leg of lamb and the second time with a roast chicken. So, the results...

The Lamb

The basis of this meal was a "boneless leg of lamb", bought from Tesco for £14 (if I recall correctly). This was cooked quite simply - just rubbed with oil and then seasoned, and then placed in the over for a couple of hours. Naturally, it was accompanied with some roast potatoes, and we had roast carrots as well. I added a few peas to this. Finally, there was mint sauce and a lamb gravy - sadly, not made from the meat juices themselves but rather from a packet.

It was very nice, but due to a miscalculation while carving, we both had way too much. That's not a big problem, but it did cut down on the leftovers.

The remains of the lamb would go on to provide a total of five lunches. Two of these took the form of "leftover lamb and mint couscous", taken from "River Cottage Everyday" by Hugh. This was an interesting one, being a variant on a chicken-based lunch I've blogged about before (in the dim and distant past). It was quite different from the chicken version, and I liked the use of apricots, but I did find it a little lacking compared with the chicken version - perhaps adding (quite a lot) more pepper would help?

On the Tuesday and the Wednesday, then, we had the rest of the lamb, this time in pitta bread-based 'sandwiches', with the addition of some yoghurt and cucumber. Again, this was okay, but a little bland. Here, I think the addition of some mint (which, sadly, had run out), and also some salt and pepper, would have helped.

Still, I was pretty happy with that, all told. The Sunday roast was excellent, and the lunches made for a nice alternative from our more usual fare.

The Chicken

I was on somewhat firmer ground with this one, as I've roasted chickens on several occasions (I've only done lamb twice, or perhaps thrice). This was a large chicken, again from Tesco (£6, I think), rubbed with oil and seasoned, with a mix of rosemary and thyme stuffed in the cavity, and a lemon. Easy peasy.

Again, this was complemented with some roast potatoes (which came out exceptionally well this time), and this time some "baked in a bag" carrots per "Jamie's Ministry of Food", and a little gravy (Bisto). Curiously, there wasn't a parsnip in sight.

This time, I was a bit more cunning when harvesting the meat - I stripped the bird completely, then divided it into six portions, one each for myself and LC, and then four to keep. This proved an almost ideal amount of food for the night, though there were still too many potatoes and carrots. Given that the total cost of those was in the region of 50p, though, I'm not too worried about throwing a few odds and ends away.

Unfortunately, it was in the use of the leftovers that inspiration failed. I had some great sandwiches on Tuesday and Wednesday, made simply by mixing some chicken with a tablespoon of BBQ sauce and a tablespoon of hot chilli sauce (they would have been better with some lettuce and tomate as well, but we didn't have any), and LC had some sandwiches with just the chicken. Of course, there's nothing wrong with a nice sandwich... but they just didn't feel inspired.

(And, given that I feel like a bit of a brag... last night's dinner was a second go-around of Lorraine's Tandoori Chicken Wraps with Cucumber Raita and Mango Salsa. This fed two of us, and left over enough stuff for lunch today, which was delicious. Now that's more like what I mean by "inspired"!)

I can't say I'm disappointed by the results of the chicken, either. In fact, in terms of value-for-money, it worked out rather better than the lamb. Still, I think next time I might have a go at Jamie's chicken stew that he makes with leftover chicken (if I can persuade LC to go for it).


All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the way this has gone. I think a bit more planning is probably called for, specifically in the use of the leftovers once they've been harvested, but the basic idea seems solid.

Of course, the impetus for this came largely from "Jamie's Money Saving Meals". The roast chicken quite clearly did save a bit of money, while the lamb was much less certain (especially since I over-catered on that first night). Still, in all honesty that was really a fairly minor issue for us.

Next up is probably roast pork. Though, frankly, I have no idea what I might do with those leftovers.

1 comment:

Captain Ric said...

Do a roast ham instead of roast pork - I had some incredible sandwiches last time I did that.