13 May 2012

Roast lamb & chargrilled vegetable terrine - a leftovers triumph

As you know, we had roasted a huge - nay, mahoooosive - leg of lamb for our Sunday dinner.  With  stringent portion size control in place, we had rather a lot left over - which we had planned for, as it's not every day you spent £10 on a piece of meat.  Or perhaps I should say, it's not every day we spend that on meat!  So we'd planned to make at least one more meal from it - and more than one would be a bonus.

Naturally, we had thought of all the classic uses for leftover lamb such as Shepherd's Pie, braised lamb, lamb curry etc., but we wanted something that would make the most of the flavours we had introduced to the meat and also something that would do justice to the quality.  All these suggestions, although perfectly viable, just weren't hitting the proverbial spot with us.

We went through all the North African flavour combinations - tagines, couscous recipes, kebab-type combinations, but all these just added extra flavours to the meat, rather than capitalising on those that were there already.  It was a real brain-teaser!

Whatever shall we make with this lot?
I was trying to "think outside of the box" as they say, and from hot recipes suddenly went off on a tangent into salad recipes - and struck on terrine.

Now I hadn't a clue how to make a terrine, other than those that I've seen made on t.v. - which ranged from really easy to "oh my god, how did he do that?".  However, we both liked the idea instantly, we just needed to work out what we could put in the terrine with the lamb and what we'd use to stick it all together, rather than cook it again.

I had been intending to make a small batch of lamb stock from the roasted bones and it occurred to me that if I reduced the stock down to intensify the flavours, then added gelatine, it might answer the problem of what to use as "glue".  The stock would have to be very reduced though - and I'd need to be careful about how much gelatine to use, as stock made from bones can jellify when cold anyway.  I also haven't had a good history with using gelatine, as the last attempt resulted in my using eight leaves for one pint of a fruit concoction, which stalwartly refused to set.

Now that is a work of art
In pondering on what vegetables we had in the fridge as suitable bedmates for the lamb, it dawned on me that we had half an aubergine and a pack of asparagus looking for a home.  Now if you were to say either "aubergine" or "asparagus" to me, my instant response is "griddle pan".  Char-grilled vegetables.  Oooh yes!  Whilst imagining the combined flavours of the lamb with the vegetables, it occurred to me that we would need something to give a sweet note to the whole - perhaps some sweet red pepper.  I had a quick think through the larder cupboard for ideas and remembered a few semi-dried prunes - sliced finely, they would be perfect at lending that shot of sweetness, too.  So, ultimately, the only thing we had to buy in order to make the terrine, were some baby peppers to chargrill for an additional vegetable layer.  As a use for leftovers, this was evolving into something of a triumph.

The slow cooker took care of making the stock - I left it on overnight.  I had to close the kitchen door, though, as the smell of the stock cooking always gives me nightmares, bizarrely.  Into the stock pot went the bones and all the yukky but flavoursome bits, plus two plums (well, why not?), an onion, a carrot, some parsley and some swede, along with a good dash of sea salt & black pepper.

We drained the stock in the morning (once it had cooled down a little) and remembered to catch the liquid and throw away the solids - yes, I have done the reverse on one spectacularly dopey occasion.

Then whilst I chargrilled the aubergine, peppers and asparagus, the stock was put on to reduce.  I reckon we had about 700-800ml to begin with, which I reduced down to 250ml.  I stopped reducing once the flavours had reached a certain level of intensity that I felt would stand alone amongst the meat and vegetables.

There was a bit of lull in the action then, as the vegetables needed to cool completely and I couldn't add the gelatine to the stock as I needed it to be runny at assembly time.

So, once the kitchen was clear again that evening, I spent a happy hour or so building the terrine.

So proud - so pretty - so edible looking!
Firstly, I re-heated the stock, adding the gelatine, then cooling it all down again by sitting the pan in some cold water.  I didn't want to be adding hot stock to cold meat, especially as we were planning on eating the whole thing cold.  Safety first!

Of course, you have to think upside down when creating a terrine, as you'll be turning it out - and you don't want to have to turn it around, to find the pretty side!  I also lined the loaf tin with a layer of cling film which not only helped when it came to turning it out, but was a godsend when it came to carving.

First in, was the asparagus, curved side down.  Then, in between each halved stick, was a tiny sliver of prune.  Then, a layer of chopped lamb.  I then spooned into the tin enough of the stock to just under the surface and pressed the contents down with the back of a spoon.  Next was a layer of red and orange pepper, then more lamb, then more stock, then more pressing.  Next was a layer of aubergine, lamb, stock and pressing.  I was running out of both lamb and room in the tin by this time.  So I put in the few asparagus spears that were left, plus a few slivers of prune and finished it all off with another layer of aubergine.  All that was left to do was to pour in enough stock to just under the final layer, another firm press with the back of the spoon - and wrap it all up.  Into the fridge it went and I spent the next 18 hours worrying that it would either fall apart, or not set, or taste disgusting.

First thing the following morning, I had to have a look.  Oh happy day - the gelatine had set!  Cautiously, I turned the tin over and the terrine fell out into my hand (something else you couldn't do without the cling film!) - and held together.  Oh my goodness, but it was pretty!  (Well, as pretty as a lamb terrine made with dark brown stock can get!).  I slid it back into the tin and felt better.

I served the terrine as two slices accompanied by a salad made with lamb's lettuce and rocket, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber and radish along with some baby beetroots that had been marinated in rosemary and raspberry vinegar.  I dressed the salad leaves lightly with a honey/mustard dressing and we ate it with slices of baguette - although I very quickly found that the baguette was superfluous and the terrine was delicious eaten just with the salad.  Son & heir wasn't feeling very confident about whether he'd like the terrine, but even he (who really dislikes chargrilled vegetables) had to concede that it was flipping lovely.  You could still taste the cinnamon, fennel and citrus flavours that had been put into the lamb during the roasting - all of which had been helped no end by using stock made from the bones - and the chargrilling of the vegetables was delightful beside the earthy lamb.  The high points in flavour were the slivers of prune, which were just an inspired thought, plus the dressing on the salad which gave a palate cleansing burst of tanginess when you had had enough of lamb.  Every mouthful delivered a different combination of flavours and it was impossible to get bored with it.

So, the lamb itself provided three main courses in its roasted form.  We then ate three more main courses from the terrine, plus three lunches and a sandwich from the last few bits that didn't go into the terrine.  Add in to that the stock - and I think we made best use of our £10.


Ingredients :

A good quantity of leftover roast lamb, diced
half an aubergine, sliced quite finely
four mini red/yellow peppers, stalk removed, quartered and de-seeded
150g asparagus spears, halved lengthways
3-4 semi-dried prunes, cut into fine slivers
olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
300ml good strong lamb stock (made from roasted bones, if possible)
5 sheets gelatine.

Method :

1. Presuming your stock is reduced and ready to have gelatine added (if not, you'll need to reduce it before you reach this stage), heat up a griddle pan.  In a bowl, add a handful of veggies and sprinkle with a little olive oil and seasoning.  Griddle until softened, then lay on a plate to cool.  Repeat these steps until all the veggies are cooked and cooling.

2.  Once the vegetables are completely cold, drop the five sheets of gelatine into some cold water to soak and become flexible.

3.  Heat your stock through and, just before it boils, take it from the heat, squeeze the excess water from the gelatine and add to the stock.  Stir well to ensure that the gelatine is dissolved and well combined.

4.  Cool the stock quickly by sitting the pan in cold water and stirring.  You will feel the gelatine setting as the mixture cools, so remove it while still tepid.

5.  Line a loaf tine with some cling film - sufficient to fold over the top once filled - and start to build your layers.  Begin with the layer that is going to be seen on the top - I started with some asparagus and prune.  Add a layer of the lamb meat, then spoon in just enough stock to just under the surface and press down with the back of the spoon until flat.

6.  Build your next layer of vegetable, followed by meat, followed by stock.  Press down.

7.  Continue in this way until the tin is full or you run out of ammunition to fill it with!

8.  Before wrapping, give the tin 2-3 sharp taps on the work surface, just to encourage any air bubbles up to the top, then flatten the surface and fold the cling film over to seal.

9.  Place into the fridge overnight, to set.

10.  To serve, carve with a very sharp knife and with the cling film still in situ as this helps to keep the whole lot together and prevent any one layer sliding off on its own.  It is an easy matter, once cut, to remove the cling film.

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  1. Wow! What a creative way to use leftovers! I don't think a terrine would have crossed my mind but that's a great idea I'm going to have to steal.

    1. As you could probably tell, I was a bit trepidatious about the whole thing - but the end result was so fabulous that I'm now terribly proud of myself for creating it and for the pair of us (hubby and me) for thinking it up!

      Ssssh - don't tell anyone, but we've a fruit version in the pipeline. :)

  2. Wow.. I like lamb recipe. Thanks for sharing lamb recipe.
    Lamb Recipes


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