Turn your Easter lamb roast into ragu

Zaatar roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate salad.
Zaatar roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate salad. Photo: Katrina Meynink

Lamb. Ah, the glory of lamb. Taste aside, it's the mere fact that most of the cuts require the kind of cook that is low and slow. A direct and meaty revolt against all things express, quick and 10-minute inspired.

It is not a means to an end, but an end in itself. We've taken this glorious notion one step further, lamb to leftovers, your roasts to ragu, to really ensure it is the gift that keeps on giving this Easter. You're welcome.

Zaatar roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate salad

INGREDIENTS

1 lamb shoulder, bone-in (about 1.8kg)

3 tbsp zaatar

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups white wine

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 brown onions, roughly chopped

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Salad

½ large red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup parsley leaves, chopped

½ to ¾ cup soft Persian-style feta or labna

1 cup mint leaves, chopped

arils of 1 pomegranate

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 150C.

2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and brown the lamb, starting skin-side down, until golden all over (about 10 minutes).

3. Place the garlic and onion in a deep-sided roasting tray (five-cup capacity) and pour over the wine and stock. Rest the lamb on top and gently rub the zaatar onto the meat using your fingers – be careful not to rub too firmly, you want the spice to form a light crust on the lamb as it cooks. Cover the roasting tray tightly with foil and braise in the oven until the meat is falling from the bone (about five hours). Check on the lamb halfway through cooking and top with more stock if the liquid has evaporated.

4. For the last 20 minutes of cooking, remove the foil and allow the top to darken slightly before removing from oven. Reserve any leftover cooking liquid for tomorrow's ragu, and place the lamb on a serving platter. Season generously with salt and pepper, add the salad ingredients to the same platter and serve.

Serves 4-6

Sun-dried tomato and olive spiced lamb ragu with pasta.

Photo: Katrina Meynink

Smoked sun-dried tomato and olive spiced lamb ragu with pappardelle pasta

Yes, making your own pasta adds time. But there is nothing better than warm, cooked-until-the-ends-of-time ragu sauce being caught indecently in strips of pasta cut to first-prize-ribbon-like proportions. If time isn't on your side, use 100g quality dried egg pasta per person, cooked according to packet instructions.

INGREDIENTS

½ tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2½ cups leftover zaatar lamb shoulder, shredded (recipe above)

½ cup smoked* semi-dried tomatoes, chopped

½ cup smoked* kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1-2 cups white wine

1-2 cups chicken stock (or reserved cooking liquid from the roast lamb shoulder recipe)

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 x 400g tin cherry tomatoes

parmesan or pecorino, to serve

herbs of your choice, to serve

Pasta

300g plain flour

3 eggs

salt

METHOD

1. For the ragu, add the oil to a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, golden and fragrant, stirring often to prevent it catching and burning. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least 45 minutes. Check regularly on the liquid and add more wine or stock if it is reducing too quickly. Season to taste and continue to simmer until desired consistency is achieved. The sauce should be rich and thick to ensure it coats the pasta.

2. For the pasta, process ingredients and a pinch of salt in a food processor until a dough forms. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (three to five minutes), then wrap in plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for one hour.

3. Divide pasta dough into four, then, working with one piece at a time, feed through pasta machine rollers, starting at the widest setting. Lightly flour dough as you fold and feed it through, reducing settings notch by notch, until pasta is three millimetres thick. Lightly dust the sheets with flour then fold loosely and, using a sharp knife, cut into generous strips of pasta.

4. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add pasta and cook until al dente (about two to three minutes). Drain, add to ragu with cheese and herbs, toss and serve with extra cheese to the side.

Serves 4-6

*Smoked kalamata olives and semi-dried tomatoes are available from specialist grocers. If you can't source smoked olives and tomatoes, use regular, and add ½ tablespoon paprika for a background smoky flavour.

Butterflied harissa lamb with white bean and feta puree and spiced herb gremolata.

Photo: Katrina Meynink

Butterflied harissa lamb with white bean and feta puree and spiced herb gremolata

INGREDIENTS

1 x butterflied leg of lamb (at least 1.5kg), room temperature

2 to 3 tbsp harissa, or to taste (we used 3 tbsp Christine Manfield's harissa relish)

2 tbsp Greek yoghurt

2 cloves garlic, crushed

zest and juice of 1 lemon

White bean puree

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

pinch chilli flakes

2 x 400g tins white beans, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 tbsp chopped coriander

2 tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste)

75g tahini paste

¼ cup olive oil

salt and pepper

Quick salad

1 x 250g punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered

3 tbsp feta

¼ cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped

¼ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

pinch chilli flakes

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Combine the harissa, yoghurt, garlic and lemon zest and juice in a large bowl. Add the lamb, season, and rub the marinade all over the lamb using your hands. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.

2. Place the marinated lamb in a large roasting pan on top of a wire rack. Roast for 45 minutes or until cooked to your liking; rest for 20 minutes, loosely covered with foil, in a warm place.

3. While the lamb is resting, prepare the white bean puree by adding the oil, garlic and chilli flakes to a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook until fragrant before adding the white beans. Once the beans are completely warmed through, add to a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blitz until a thick paste forms. If the puree is too thick, thin it out with a little water or extra olive oil.

4. For the salad add the parsley, coriander, olive oil, garlic and pinch of chilli flakes to a blender and blitz into a dressing-like consistency. Season and set aside.

5. To serve, carve the lamb. Spread the white bean puree onto a serving plate and top with sliced lamb. Scatter over tomatoes and feta, and finish with the gremolata-style dressing.

Serves 4-6

Leftover lamb and quinoa salad.

Photo: Katrina Meynink

Leftover lamb and quinoa salad

INGREDIENTS

leftover butterflied lamb roast, sliced (about 1 cup, recipe above)

2 cups mixed salad leaves

1 small red onion, finely sliced

½ cup mixed, coarsely torn herb leaves (we used parsley, coriander and mint)

2 tbsp leftover white bean puree (optional)

1 cup tri-colour quinoa

2 cups chicken stock

250g cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup Persian-style feta or labna

microherbs to serve (optional)

Dressing

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

½ tsp salt flakes

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp honey mustard

METHOD

1. Gently simmer the quinoa in the stock in a medium-sized saucepan for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for 10 minutes to steam and fluff up. Allow to cool before adding to a large serving bowl with the salad leaves, red onion and herbs. Toss to combine.

2. Dollop any leftover white bean puree through the salad, then top with sliced lamb, cherry tomatoes and feta.

3. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, and pour over the salad (if you have any left over gremolata from the butterflied lamb, pour this over, too). Toss gently to combine, scatter over microherbs (if using), season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 4-6