I ventured into the shop of my local purveyor of quality meats a while back to procure my good person a quantity bacon for the impending bacon week celebrations, when I noticed the butcher was taking the bellies off some lambs.
“Nice lamb Graeme”, he said to me.
“Looks very nice Scotty”, I replied. “How much for one of those bellies?”
“You can have one for three bucks”, he said.
“Well chuck one in the bag then my good man”, was the only response I deemed appropriate.
“Do you want a big one?” he asked.
“Sure”, I said. “Silly not to.”
We have pretty crazy conversations, that butcher and I.
So the end result, if it isn’t clear to you by now, is that I went home with a bounty of bacon and a lamb’s belly. Tonight the time has come to cook said lambs belly so… well, I guess that is what I shall be doing tonight.
A lamb’s belly is a thrifty assed piece of meat… although it doesn’t really have a lot of meat to it. It shall be known as a flap of flavour and I shall roll it’s sapid shroud over a stuffing of cous cous and cook it with cannellini beans and vegetables. It shall also be know as just plain awesome, I am sure. Anyhow, this cook-up will quite literally leave the “ten dollar dinner” consumerist propaganda mongers at Coles for dead. Those kids aint got nudda on me!
ROLLED LAMBS BELLY TO FEED A FAMILY FOR UNDER TEN BUCKS
1 lamb belly flap. This one weighed maybe 600g once the bones were out
½ cup cous cous
½ brown onion, diced and sautéed for a minute to soften
1 handful parsley, mint and thyme, chopped
1 brown onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
1 capsicum, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
3 cups cooked cannellini beans
Chilli mint sauce to serve (recipe follows)
• Mix the cous cous, sautéed onion and herbs together. Season
• Spread mix over belly (the lamb’s, not yours), roll and tie that sucker up like it was a sex slave on Friday night
• Whack it in the oven at 180C for 1.5 hours
• Put the vegetables and bay leaves in after the 45 minute mark and the cannellini beans can go in with ten minutes to go
• Slice, season and eat
CHILLI MINT SAUCE
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup castor sugar
1 large (think Hagred from Harry Potter) handful picked mint
1 long green chilli, chopped finely
A pinch of salt
• Warm the vinegar, sugar and chilli together to dissolve the sugar and soften the chilli a little. Set aside to cool
• Once cool add mint leaves and blitz with a stick wizz or in a blender. If you don’t have a stick wizz or blender chop the mint really finely before adding
• Season and serve
We silently ate the shit out of this… the kids had seconds… my back pocket still had enough money in it to purchase a wee little tipple… we all smiled. Winning.