I’ve posted before about the beauty of menu planning in cuisines. Buying the same ingredients in bulk, being able to do components (like sauces) ahead because you are already in the head space for the following meals and having leftover ingredients that lend themselves to amazing combinations.
Plus, in the day in/day out rhythm of motherhood, the thought of cooking the same meals over and over makes me feel a little stir crazy. This approach forces me to find (or create) new recipes fortnightly that I may never otherwise have had the motivation to try.
We are nearing the end of Greek fortnight and most of the dinners have been successful- Slow-cooker Lamb Salad with Yoghurt-Mint Sauce, Lamb Pizza, Jamie’s Spinach and Feta Pie, Moussaka, Greek Meatballs, Souvlaki, Greek Burgers and Stuffed Eggplants still to come. I keep putting off doing the Chickpea Soup as this current heatwave doesn’t lend itself to the consumption of hearty soup.
The upside is that all these meals have left us with a myriad of surplus ingredients just waiting to be created into a new and exciting meal. Slow cooked lamb, roasted eggplant, spinach, haloumi cheese, lemon and oregano. What better than a Lamb and Eggplant Risotto?
Greek Lamb and Eggplant Risotto
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cubes frozen spinach (approx 50 g), defrosted (or more- to your tastes)
1 eggplant, chopped into bite sized pieces
Large handful leftover lamb*
100 grams haloumi cheese
5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 lemon, squeezed (or use rind of a whole lemon for a more subtle taste)
90g Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. (If eggplant not roasted) Turn oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place eggplant pieces in bag along with tablespoon of olive oil and salt to taste. Roast until browned.
2. Cook onion in pan until soft on low heat in approx 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic when onion almost ready. Be careful not to brown.
3. Add rice into pan, stir for a few minutes until oil coats rice.
4. Pour in wine and stir until evaporated.
5. Turn heat up to medium. Gradually add stock in small batches, stirring until almost absorbed.
6. Add in spinach and lemon juice/rind and stir.
7. When almost all absorbed and rice is soft with a slightly hard center, add in Parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate.
8. Toss in lamb, eggplant, haloumi cheese and oregano and heat through.
9. Season to taste.
10. Serve with crusty bread and a garden salad.
*For the slow cooked Greek lamb I use a lamb leg or shoulder- sear on all sides, then add to slow cooker with sliced garlic, rosemary, oregano, juice of two lemons, and some red wine. Season with salt and leave to cook on low for at least six hours. After it cools, I divide the lamb into handful sized portions and place in small zip-lock bags in the freezer for future meals. We have used it in salads, on pizzas and now in a risotto!