I love leftovers, but in a house of enthusiastic eaters, they’re almost always a rare commodity. ‘Longing for leftovers’ – that’s me. With leftovers, I celebrate the fact that dinner the next day is a breeze, packed lunches are a cinch and sneaky fridge snacks for ravenous teenagers are straight forward.
But you can have TOO many leftovers. There are those occasions when even a packing miracle won’t squeeze all the leftovers into the fridge and of course there are the leftovers where nobody liked it the first time, so why would they enjoy it as leftovers? And then there are times when you just have TOO MUCH of one thing – and for me, this week it was Hummus.
We’d had a barbecue at the weekend for my lovely husband’s work team – a great bunch of people representing 13 nationalities (can you believe that?) There was much chat, loads of laughter and, of course, heaps of food. We took care of the meat for the grill and beyond that it was a ‘designed’ Pot Luck – because as you may remember, I don’t do Pot Luck at its purest. That’ll be the control freak in me.
There was a great spread of food and drinks but just SO MUCH HUMMUS. And at the end of the evening there was still SO MUCH HUMMUS.
Now #1 teenage son is a keen hummus enthusiast (served with celery is his favourite) and also, I like to use it as a sandwich filling. But after a couple of days, nobody wanted it in their packed lunches any more, so some reinvention was called for.
I also needed to create a quick dinner for the family (my lovely husband and I were doing a mid-week trip to the cinema to catch Spectre. What did you think of it? I’ll come clean and admit that I was pretty non-plussed … especially the part where I fell asleep. And I’m normally a fan. Dull story, I thought. Maybe I’m still mourning the loss of Judi.)
Anyway back to that quick dinner …
Hummus needed to play a big part here but I needed something else to cause a distraction. And this Chilli Cumin Lamb was just the ticket. I used minced lamb which I speedily fried up with a little garlic and a lot of spices. The kitchen smelt SO good. Tossing it in some pomegranate molasses and stirring through a few pomegranate seeds was the final flourish and lifted it from being reminiscent of a 1970s tragic dinner to a magical dish.
So to bring it all together, dinner looked like this –
- Chilli Cumin Lamb
- Hummus – leftover from the barbecue. Of course.
- Caramelised Onions – also leftover from the barbecue.
- Slithers of red onion – tossed in lime juice. It softens the harsh flavour of the raw onion.
- A simple green salad – I used spinach leaves, cucumber and sugar snaps.
- A few Easy Oven Chips.
- Some warm Arabic breads – to stuff with a bit of everything or just to enjoy on the side.
This was a winner of a dinner and in fact it was hard to drag ourselves away to get to the cinema. There’s no set rules for what you include here. This combination worked wonderfully but you could swap and change with whatever you fancy but, more importantly, whatever leftovers you are ‘enjoying’.
This mezze style dinner with the Chilli Cumin Lamb at its heart is most definitely a keeper for me – a mid-week easy dinner with the kind of relaxed DIY vibe that I love. Maybe I’ll stock up on more hummus. On seconds thoughts, right now we need a Hummus Holiday. But don’t let me stop you …
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- ¾ - 1 tablespoon chilli flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
- 2 fat garlic cloves, finely minced
- 700g (1½lbs) lean lamb mince
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- a handful of pomegranate seeds
- a small handful of parsley, finely chopped
- Heat a large frying pan on a low heat and add the olive oil.
- When the oil is warm add the cumin and the chilli flakes to the pan and stir for a few seconds until the cumin begins to smell fragrant. Now add the garlic and stir over the heat for a few seconds.
- Tip the lamb into the pan and turn the heat up high. Season with salt and pepper and fry the lamb, stirring often until it is browned and cooked through. This will probably take about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the pomegranate molasses and remove from the heat.
- Sprinkle the lamb with the pomegranate seeds and a sprinkling of chopped parsley before serving as part of a mezze style spread.