This always happens: Winter sets in. The hibernation urge flexes. I cook.
Tonight is a rehash (nope. No pun.) of last night. Sort of. It’s what I had on hand. So of course YOUR result may and likely will vary. See the Back Story.
Lamb and Tomato Blessings and Bliss
- pound of ground lamb
- a spoonful of tomato paste, if you have it. I did.
- can of tomatoes (I use good ones. They’re worth the extra thirty cents.)
- a few brined olives, chopped. Dry. Rich. Yum.
- a half a can of cannellini beans
- handful of thawed frozen spinach
- Van Morrison
Use a pot/pan/dish sized to hold all this. Common sense.
Brown the lamb. Add the garlic. I pressed what I had because it was a bunch of tiny stuff. But you could chop yours. Cook gently.
Add a bit of tomato paste or some tomato from the can and work it into the fat. Lamb is fatty. There’ll be lots of fat. You want to enjoy, not waste, that fat. Again: it’s what I had on hand. You figure it out, right?
Add the rest of the tomatoes. And the olives. (Deep, rich, briny!) And those few beans. Sprinkle in some dried oregano and a smidgen of cinnamon and nutmeg. Easy does it.
You’re (gently) tossing all this as you cook, right? Add the spinach and, gently, incorporate. I use a big “serving” fork. I keep three in the drawer closest to the burners. Use ‘em all the time. Along with a trio of big spoons and a sleek wooden spatula.
Let it cook and ponder god. Or whatever.
I served it over fusilli. It was divine. Literally.
It’s winter. I’m slowing down. Today I walked to where I needed to go. Brilliant winter sunlight. It was about ten degrees. Not much wind. A marvel and a wonder.
Food. In winter I like to . . . dig in. So I cook. Use good tomatoes. I buy mine from Amazon. Sorry. Can’t otherwise get them here in my small town. And they’re so rich and full and aromatic and so much better than even the best of American canned.
The astute will have noticed: Yes, this dish is the same as last night’s. More or less: tomatoes. Spinach. Pasta. Beans.
But tonight I added lamb (and changed the cooking technique, etc. ) Lamb: Lamb is fat.
Don’t, I beg of you, waste that fat. It’s why this little dish was so stunningly satisfying. Even I, constantly questioning what I cook, knew that if I’d had this in a restaurant I’dve been all, like, ohwowmygodthisis good. I’dve paid six-sixty or even eight-eighty. (Prize for first one to name that line.)
So use that fat. Start with the meat and don't take it from the pan. Cook everything else in it and its fat.
Or . . . not. You notice that last night: no meat. Sometimes we do; sometimes we don’t. At our house, a pound of lamb serves six. (But, given there are only two of us, not six at once.)