Baked Potato with Lamb and Lebanese Beans
To make this, you need a bit of cold roast lamb, sliced off the bone.
When I think of baked potatoes, baked beans follow almost instantly in my head. I thought I’d give this British standard a little makeover to suit the ethnic flavours on the outside of the lamb, so I reworked the bean idea with the help of a spicy Lebanese walnut pesto.
What’s amazing is that with such a small amount of input from the cook, a dish can be transformed into something quite so different.
|around 300g||leftover roast lamb, in chunks or slices|
|2||baking potatoes, around 300g each|
|Greek yoghurt, to serve|
|salt and pepper|
|For the Lebanese walnut pesto:|
|1 tbsp||pomegranate molasses, or 4 tablespoons pomegranate juice|
|½ tsp||ground cumin|
|1||shallot, peeled and grated|
|a small handful||of flat-leaf parsley (15g), washed and chopped|
|2 tbsp||olive oil|
|For the spinachy cannellini beans:|
|1 sprig||of rosemary, washed, stripped and chopped|
|1 ½ tbsp||extra-virgin olive oil|
|1 x 410g tin||of cannellini beans, drained|
|75g||baby spinach, leaves left whole; or wholeleaf spinach, chopped roughly|
|salt and pepper|
You will need a food processor
To make the spinachy cannellini beans:
Heat a heavy-bottomed pan with the oil and rosemary and fry it just for a minute or two until the rosemary starts to go golden before adding the beans and bay.
When the beans are warmed through and coated in the rosemary oil, stir the spinach into the pan, using the back of your spoon to squish the beans. Pop the lid on for a couple of minutes to let the spinach wilt, then add a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and season well.
To make the Baked Potato with Lamb and Lebanese Beans:
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Prick the potatoes a couple of times and whack them in the microwave on high for 15–20 minutes (or put them straight in the oven for an hour and 15 minutes, turning down to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 after half an hour). Get the lamb out of the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature.
To make the Lebanese pesto, blitz the walnuts in a food processor until ground. Cut the pepper in half and scrape out the seeds. Grate it coarsely, chucking out any big bits of skin that fall by the wayside. Mix the ground walnuts, grated pepper, pomegranate molasses or juice, ground cumin, grated shallot, parsley and seasoning in a bowl, and set aside for the flavours to come together.
Once the spuds have been thoroughly nuked, there are a few things you can do to turn them into more traditional decent baked ones. As soon as each potato comes out of the microwave, pick it up in an oven glove and roll it around between your hands to break the insides up. Be gentle: the skin is thin and delicate when microwaved, so this has to be done carefully. Barbara Kafka, queen of microwave cookery, says that letting the potato cool for a few minutes before wetting it, sprinkling with salt and baking for 30 minutes in the oven is the best way to achieve the perfect result.
When your spuds are nearly cooked, warm the beans through in a small saucepan and stir half of the walnut pesto into it. Transfer the other half into a ramekin or a small jam jar, bang it down hard on the counter to bring any air bubbles to the top, then cover with the olive oil before sealing. This can be enjoyed as a snack on warm flatbread or with crudités later – it will keep for a month like this in the fridge.
Serve the hot spud, spicy beans and lamb with a splodge of Greek yoghurt to bring it all together.