Spicy Lamb Salad Pita Pocket With Garlic and Herb Roasties
This is a recipe inspired by the popular Turkish creation called a döner kebab. That is a dish that sees strips of seasoned lamb built around an upright rotisserie and cooked slowly via a very hot adjacent heat source. The outside of the assembly is sliced off in stages as it cooks, and the meat is commonly served with salad and sauce in a pitta bread, especially in Western takeaways. As cooking with a rotisserie is not particularly suited to or practical in the average home kitchen, this recipe instead uses casseroled leg of lamb steak, which is subsequently shredded.
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: 1 serving
- 6 medium baby new potatoes
- 4 ounce lambs leg steak
- ½ small white onion (¼ each for cooking the lamb and for the salad)
- Dried rosemary
- Black pepper
- ½ pint (approximately) fresh lamb or chicken stock
- 2 or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large garlic clove
- Dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons plain natural yoghurt
- 2 teaspoons ketchup
- 1 teaspoon supermarket bought mint sauce
- ½ teaspoon medium strength chilli powder (optional)
- 2 small cherry tomatoes
- 2 or 3 large green lettuce leaves
- 1 pitta bread
Wash the potatoes very well but leave them unpeeled. Cut them in half across the way and add them to a large pot of cold, salted water. Put the pot on to a high heat until the water starts to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about twenty to twenty-five minutes. The potatoes should be just softened and no more. Drain them off through a colander at your sink and leave them to steam off and cool while you prepare the lamb steak for cooking.
Preheat your oven to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.
Lay the leg of lamb steak in the bottom of a casserole dish and add the sliced onion, a generous pinch of dried rosemary and some salt and black pepper.
Pour enough stock in to the dish to cover the steak. Put the lid on the dish and place it in the oven for thirty minutes.
When the lamb has been in the oven for fifteen minutes, pour the vegetable oil in to a large bowl. Peel the garlic clove and finely grate it in to the oil. Season with salt and pepper as well as a generous pinch of both dried thyme and dried rosemary. Stir well. Add the cooled potatoes and carefully turn them around in the seasoned oil.
Arrange the potatoes on a baking tray that they are not touching one another and add them to the oven with the lamb.
Measure out the yoghurt, ketchup and mint sauce in to a bowl. The chilli powder is optional and can be omitted if desired. If including, add it also at this stage.
Stir the sauce well with a spoon until you can clearly see that all the ingredients are fully combined.
When the lamb is ready and you are removing the casserole dish from the oven, take the time also to give the tray of potatoes a gentle shake before returning it to the oven for ten more minutes.
A slotted spoon should be used to carefully lift the lamb from the stock to a small heated plate. Cover with foil and leave for ten minutes or so to rest.
Slice the remaining onion quarter and separate in to strands. Wash the lettuce leaves and tomatoes and dry with kitchen paper. Cut the tomatoes in half. Roll the lettuce leaves together and shred across the way to form strips. Put the onion, tomato and lettuce in to the bowl of spicy sauce.
Turn the salad ingredients gently through the sauce with a spoon until all the pieces are evenly coated.
Take the roast potatoes from the oven and lift them with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with kitchen paper to briefly drain.
Two forks should be used to roughly shred the lamb. Take care not to shred it too finely. A bit of substance is best in this dish.
The pitta bread should be reheated per the instructions on the pack. This is sometimes done under your grill/broiler, sometimes in a low oven, or even in the microwave. It only takes a minute or so whatever method is used. Hold it in your weaker hand in some folded over kitchen paper (it will be very hot!) and cut it along one long edge with a very sharp knife. Carefully open it up to form a pocket and spoon in about two-thirds of the salad and sauce or until the pocket is about half full.
Spoon the lamb in to the pitta pocket on top of the salad.
Top up the pitta pocket with the remaining salad and serve it rested upright on the plated roast potatoes.
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© 2018 Gordon Hamilton