Leftover lamb gnocchi with apricots

April 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Once again, I have to apologise for such a lengthy intermission between posts. I’ve been so bogged down with work, moving house, networking, and travelling that I’ve hardly had any time to pick up a fork let alone a spatula.

However, I really made the effort this Easter. I forgot to take photos, mind, as I’m terribly rubbish like that. I made a rolled leg of lamb roast stuffed with spinach, apricots and pine nuts, served with thyme potato dauphinoise and honey and thyme glazed sticky carrots. It was delicious! But we had a fair amount of roast lamb leftover for the next day which was still really juicy and tender, so we decided to make a leftover’s recipe based on the combination of flavours we’d worked with the night before.

Lamb and apricot are a marriage made in heaven. The idea of combining lamb with the fragrant apricot is very Moroccan and Middle Eastern. Many Middle Eastern dishes, such as tagine, use fruits and spices alongside meat to create a unique complement.

However, the idea of combining them with gnocchi is fairly unusual and probably not one that you’d start off considering. The real beauty of this dish is how all the flavours come together and are just right – no particular ingredient overpowers the other. Although apricots aren’t in season at the moment (May to September is the usual time), dried apricots are the main star of this dish – plus with all the hot weather we’ve been having it almost feels like it’s summer already.

So, some of these are estimations as it’s based on how much we had leftover! But here we go:

  • 500g storebought gnocchi
  • 100-150g fresh baby leaf spinach
  • 6 semi-soft dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • approximately 100-150g roast lamb
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 stems rosemary, finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • a splash of cream
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • flaked sea salt and pepper
  • parmesan, for sprinkling

Start off by toasting your pine nuts in a large frying pan – just dry roasted as there is no need for oil. After about 3-4 minutes these will be done and you can remove them to a small bowl while you prepare the sauce. Wash the spinach and put into the frying pan with a knob of butter and the chopped garlic. Let this reduce for about 30 seconds or so before putting in the chopped apricot and pine nuts. Chop up your leftover lamb into bitesize chunks and then add to the sauce.

Stir gently to combine, then add the thyme leaves and chopped rosemary. Season with Maldon sea salt if you have it, otherwise some normal sea salt is really brilliant in this kind of dish. Add some black pepper to taste and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir everything together and turn the heat off.

Hopefully you’ve boiled a kettle of water in preparation, but if not, boil some water and stick it in a saucepan with the gnocchi (make sure you salt the water well). Once the gnocchi rises to the surface of the water it is ready to drain. When you’ve drained the gnocchi, put the sauce mix back on the heat and add a splash of cream. Stir about to combine, then add the drained gnocchi. Combine well, then serve in shallow bowls with grated parmesan over the top.


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