Whilst I cook most nights, unless we go out for the day on a Sunday, I usually like to do something "special" for us to end off the weekend. Roasts are always a win, but when you cook them as often as I do it can become challenging to find new and creative ways to prepare and serve them, so I normally turn to Google for inspiration.
Yesterday I spotted a few recipes for the main as well as the sides that sparked my interest and then decided to put my own spin on it, as I always do lol - artistic license and all :)
There was quite a bit happening with this recipe so I will approach this as methodically as possible to avoid confusion haha... The first thing was the rub for the roast, which is essentially what makes it a Persian Style roast - and whilst it was a fair amount of effort, it really was worth every second! It was crispy, delicious, tangy and sweet all rolled into one! This is NOT at all like the recipe I read... I did very much my own thing here because of what was or what was not available in terms of ingredients... but I quite like my version haha :)
PERSIAN STYLE ROAST RUB
You will need...
1 cup of fresh pomegranates
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
The juice of one lemon (used 50/50)
First, you will need to blend the pomegranates. I simply used a hand blender for this. Then you pop the pulp into a small pot, along with the sugar and the juice of half a lemon. Bring it to a gentle and consistent boil, stirring it regularly until it reduces into an almost sticky, chunky molasses type of consistency. Then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled, in a bowl you can mix it together with the cumin, olive oil, garlic and the other half of the lemon juice.
That is pretty much it for the rub, and we will get back to that in a minute. Next on the agenda was the boulangére potatoes. I have never made these before and spotted them on an entirely different recipe, but they looked positively divine and I aptly discovered that they are a fantastic accompaniment to a roast, so I decided to make them the primary side... I mean a roast would not be complete without some tatos! Normally I don't eat traditional potato and I still vow to try this with sweet potato - but for a first round, I thought I would do it the traditional way.
This was exceptionally easy to prepare and I have to say that it was an absolutely fantastic partner on the plate!
You will need
3 large peeled potatoes, VERY thinly sliced
1 large onion very thinly sliced
A sprig or two of fresh rosemary diced
Salt and Pepper to taste
A dollop of olive oil
Peel and thinly slice both the potatoes and the onion. Sweat the onions in a little olive oil. Do not cook them, just allow them to heat through for approx. 3 minutes. Place the sliced potatoes, onion, rosemary, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Then place it into a greased baking dish, spread it all out as evenly as possible and then pour a little olive oil over the top. You actually get some really fancy finishes to the top layer of boulangére potatoes, but I am more of a "rustic" approach individual and prefer the messier, slightly more natural look of things.
Bake this at 180 degrees Celsius for one hour and you are greeted with the most fabulous looking potato side! it really was gorgeous - and equally as tasty!
Next on the agenda was the bean salad side, which in essence I just concocted in my head because I wanted a veg on the plate, but I also wanted a salad - but did not want two separate entities. Green beans work really well for a salad when cooked "just right" - essentially they need to be much like well cooked pasta - al-dente (tender but firm). You can steam them or literally blanch them and I really liked the idea of the combo of the tangy taste of the pomegranates combined with the saltiness of the feta cheese. I figured this would be very complimentary to the somewhat ordinary comfort of the boulangére potatoes as well as highlight the pomegranate in the roast rub.
GREEN BEAN, POMEGRANATE & FETA SALAD
You will need...
1 pack of green beans, topped and tailed
1 feta cheese round
1 tablespoon of pomegranates
As mentioned already you can steam or blanch your green beans - but either way they must not be overcooked otherwise they will break apart and simply turn to mush! If you are going to blanch them you will need to bring a pot of water to the boil, add the beans once boiling, switch the heat off and leave them in the water until the boiling stops which is relatively soon after. Remove them from the water immediately and place them in the fridge, covered. When you are ready to serve, simply add in the crumbled feta and the pomegranates.
You will need...
Approx. 1.6kg leg of lamb
The already prepared rub
2 bay leaves
400ml of chicken stock
Chop the onion and throw it into the base of a roasting pan, along with two bay leaves and the 400ml of chicken stock. Cook covered for one hour and then for another 30 minutes uncovered so the rub can crisp up nicely. Remove the roast from the oven and allow it to cool for approx. 15 minutes. It is also important to remember that the roast should be removed from the fridge at least two hours before cooking so that it can adjust to room temperature which will assist with it cooking through more evenly.
I am a fan of quite a rare roast, and actually got distracted by bath time etc. so did not remove it from the oven when I should have, so it was not as pink as I would have liked, but it was still absolutely tender, juicy & flavour filled.
I have to say that the trio went together brilliantly!!! Jude was happy and if I can impress my nine year old son, then I am happy... although he did offer me one piece of advice at the table and that was that the potatoes would have been better with bacon haha!!! And yes, he has a point, but I had to explain to him that it was a side, not a main lol... and also - that despite my continuous encouragement, he remains what I call a "separate eater" and a chefs worst nightmare because you NEVER get to experience the full flavour profile - to which he nodded and continued to eat everything separately hahahaha!! - maybe in time, maybe in time... It was a super Sunday meal and I will definitely do it again!
❤ That's all for now foodies ❤
Until next time...
Much Love from Cape Town, South Africa xxx
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