Meal Prep For People Who Hate Boring Meals: The Lamb Edition
There are endless articles online preaching the benefits of meal prep. It encourages healthy eating, it saves you time during the week, it’s budget friendly, it… blah blah blah. Yawn! Do you know what meal prep sounds like to me? Getting sick of that bland, dry chicken breast (which yes, even the juiciest breast will be three days later after a zap in the microwave) by Wednesday, throwing in the towel and ordering pizza. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to slave over a stove every night of the week whipping up exotic ingredients into gourmet meals while you stare longingly at your housemate’s pizza.
That’s where the anti meal prep comes in. There’s still some Sunday prep involved but what makes a difference is that your options for different variations of one base are endless throughout the week.
On Sunday, I slow roasted a lamb shoulder in tomato passata, wine and dried oregano. It was the perfect late Sunday lunch and it left me with just enough leftovers to transform into several other meals because I’d already done the hardest part: waiting for that rich, earthy shoulder to break down into fork tender, melty goodness.
I served mine with roast vegetables but a fresh salad with lots of herbs would be perfect for this dish and a far less time consuming option!
Side note: If you plan on feeding all your housemates or family with this lamb shoulder recipe, it might be worth roasting off a second one for your anti meal prep. Most ovens should be able to accommodate a large roasting pans big enough for two lamb shoulders. If you have a brand oven (i.e. not one of those awful stand alone white ones that infest rentals), I highly recommend calling them and asking if they sell roasting pans custom-fit for your oven, as these will give you maximum use of your oven.
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1 jar tomato passata
1 cup red wine
6-8 cloves garlic, smashed and skins removed
1 lamb shoulder, trimmed of any excess fat
3 tbs dried oregano
2 tbs olive oil
Salt & pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 200C
2. Pour the passata and red wine into your roasting tray and add the garlic. Sprinkle with half the oregano
3. Place the lamb shoulder over the top and brush with the olive oil. Sprinkle over the remaining oregano and season generously with salt and pepper
4. Cover the lamb tightly with aluminium foil and roast for a minimum of three hours (I like to do four, but three is fine in a pinch)
5. Remove the foil and place back in the oven for a further 30 minutes to render the fat
While the leftovers from this recipe will make fantastic sandwiches, there’s so many more interesting things you can do with them. Here’s a few of my favourites.
Get your Greek on
Leftover lamb is just begging to be wrapped up in warm pita bread with tzatziki, red onion and cherry tomatoes. This one transports well too: use your work kitchen to heat up the pita and lamb and assemble it fresh at lunchtime. Sprinkle a little extra dried oregano over the top and you’ll be the envy of your workmates.
Explore Turkish street food
Ever heard of lahmacun? Pronounced lam-ah-JHUN, this popular Turkish take out is a real treat – and a great way to sneak extra veggies into your meal. Finley chop up leftover lamb with garlic, tomato, sumac, paprika and dried chilli flakes and spread over homemade pizza dough (Feeling lazy? Pop into your local pizzeria, they’ll often sell you dough for a few dollars). Bake at 200C for 20 minute or until the dough is crisp, then simply squeeze a quarter lemon over the pizza, top with parsley, shredded lettuce, fresh tomatoes and more lemon juice and roll up like a kebab. Yum!
Veg out with comfort food
You’ve already cooked the lamb in a gorgeous, velvety tomato sauce, which means you’re half way to a shepherd’s pie. Simply sauté off some diced carrot and celery, toss through the shredded lamb with some of that yummy leftover red liquid in a baking dish and spread over a creamy mash potato (for a lower-GI option, make a sweet potato mash), then pop it in the oven until the top of the potato begins to golden.
Georgia is a writer and pastry chef living in Sydney. As a low-income earner, she’s become a dab hand at creating delicious, budget-friendly recipes that satisfy her need for bold flavours and meals worth getting excited about.