Monday, 17 September 2012

Family Sunday lunch: Lamb tortillas with all the trimmings

Very excitingly, the little sister (she's 22 but still my little sister) has just moved to our end of the world to start a new job, so is just round the corner from us and ten minutes drive down the road to the brother's place. So I decided to cook a nice family Sunday lunch for us all to welcome her back Daarn Saaf. (Say it phonetically. It works, I promise.)

My nephew (the brother's son), who by the way just happens to be the cutest most adorable two-month old  in the world (but I'm biased I suppose), decided to be even cuter and more adorable and go to sleep so that we adults could stuff our faces with food.

In honour of the occasion I decided to stretch myself and even make my own flour tortillas and a pudding, even if afterwards the flour and eggshells all over the kitchen made the other half think that two small but very determined trick-or-treaters had turned up a couple of weeks early. The pudding wasn't great so I won't bang on about that, but here's a tip for you: don't use a plastic spoon to stir caramel. 

If the wooden spoons could have rolled their eyes at me, they would have.

Anyway, on with the main event...

Lamb tortillas with roasted peppers; butternut squash, aubergine & rocket salad; spicy rice; and roast tomato & garlic sauce

1. In honour of the occasion, raise yourself out of your nice comfy warm Sunday-morning bed at 8am, and massage olive oil, cumin, paprika, chili, garlic and salt & pepper on to a whole leg of lamb. Pop it into a big deep casserole dish (so that you can cover it with a lid later) and roast for 30 mins on 220c so that it browns a little and the skin begins to take on the flavour of the spices. 

2. Add a glass of white wine to the casserole dish, put the lid on, and roast for another 2 1/2 hours at 150c.

3. Drink rest of the bottle.

4. Realise it's only 9am. Oops. 

5. Panic, look for a good gluten-free dessert in a recipe book, and persuade other half to drive you to Sainsburys. Get "you know you can't bake desserts so why are you trying?" look from George. Ignore it. 

6. Get back from Sainsburys, make dessert, melt favourite blue plastic spoon. Throw said spoon at window and then clean gloopy mess off glass. 

7. After 2 1/2 hours in the oven, add 5 whole peppers, 3 whole large tomatoes and 4 cloves of garlic (peeled but left whole) into the casserole dish with the lamb. Put it back in the oven for another hour.

8. Make tortilla bread mix. Do not, I repeat, do not use 800g of plain flour instead of 200g, unless you want to end up with the mountain of tortillas that I did. Instead, mix 200g plain flour, 2 tablespoons baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add a glug of oil (vegetable or groundnut), then half a pint of boiling water. Mix with the stick end of a wooden spoon if you're not posh enough (or old enough to have the 1970s version) to have a Kenwood Chef with a dough hook. When the dough has come together, leave to cool down. When cool, knead for 5 minutes to make it elastic and stretchy, then divide into balls - around tennis-ball sized if you want nice big tortillas and have a big enough frying pan.

9. Take lamb out of oven and leave covered on the side to stand. Put the peppers and tomatoes back into the oven on a baking tray, seasoned with salt and pepper, and turn the heat up to 200c. Cook for 30 minutes.

10. Cook long-grain or basmati rice, drain, and fry in a knob of butter, shallots, chili and garlic. Add some crunchy salad and coriander at the end, season (and a bit extra chili if you like it hot) and cover so that you're serving it warm but not boiling hot. 

11. Cut butternut squash and aubergines into large chunks, douse with olive oil, salt and pepper, and pop into oven for 20 minutes.

12. Strain the rest of the juice from the casserole into a pan and put on a high heat to reduce - it needs to reduce by about half. After 20 minutes it's ready for the tomatoes from the oven to be diced up and added to make a chunky sauce.

13. In the meantime, take the meat off the lamb - it should just come off the bone and shred apart easily. Pop in a bowl and cover. 

14. Start frying your tortillas - roll out into flat, large round disks and fry in a tiny bit of groundnut oil in a large pan. I find that this makes stops them going dry as they are cooking, which means you can wrap them around the filling without them cracking. I have to admit only finding this out by the last couple of tortillas, and thanks to my sister-in-law who came up with the idea after I was bemoaning the hard, cracked state of the first couple. Probably a good thing I had the whole mountain in the end... (Next time I'm trying the gluten-free version so that I can eat them too).

15. By this time you're ready to take the peppers, butternut squash and aubergines out of the oven. Cut the peppers into strips and mix the squash and aubergines with rocket, olive oil and season. I also cut up some spring onions and cucumber to go into the tortilla wraps.

16. Serve! Everyone really enjoyed making their own tortillas, it's kind of like Chinese duck with pancakes but... well, but not really. And if you're not too exhausted yourself, eat!

Go forth and wrap while the baby is still asleep!