Winter Warmers

I was talking with a friend who I consider to be a very accomplished cook a couple of days ago and discovered that when I mentioned the “cook it one day, eat it the next” trick for casseroles she didn’t have the faintest idea what I meant. Here, for her, and for anybody else who’s interested, is an example of one I cook. It’s a lamb hotpot. You will need:-

  • 4 lamb leg steaks
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 300ml lamb stock
  • 1tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1tbsp tomato puree

(The soy sauces and tomato puree aren’t essential – I just like the extra flavour and thickening they provide.)
I didn’t mess around sealing the meat or softening the onions, I just put the whole lot into a casserole dish then I mixed the soy sauces and tomato puree into the stock and tipped this mixture over the meat and onions. I put the dish into the oven at Gas 4 and left it to cook for 3 hours (yes, I like to be able to cut my meat with a spoon!).
At the end of the cooking time I left the dish to go completely cold. This is the “cook it one day, eat it the next” bit. Fat is fine, but the sauce in a lamb casserole can sometimes just taste greasy and thus spoil your enjoyment. If you let the dish go completely cold the fat that’s been released from the meat will solidify and you can just use a spoon to lift it off and dispose of it. So, the following day, I spooned off the fat and added a couple of layers of thinly sliced potatoes. All I needed to do now was to put the casserole into the oven again for long enough to cook the pototoes and warm up the meat.
There you are, it’s as simple as that!