Paul Flynn’s Sunday roasts: traditional, exotic and vegetarian

A shortcut for salt baking vegetables and a lamb shoulder recipe bursting with Middle Eastern flavours

Lamb shoulder, roasted vegetable bulgur and tahini sauce. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Lamb shoulder, roasted vegetable bulgur and tahini sauce. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Sunday has always been sacrosanct in our house. Most of the year, except for in summer, the Tannery restaurant closes after Sunday lunch. I fly home and start prepping dinner. I love this time. I plan what we might eat days before, after much discussion.

I find this kind of cooking therapeutic. It’s a gentle amble as opposed to the bucking bronco of a restaurant kitchen. These are Sunday dishes, for whatever time you choose to eat them. One is traditional, one exotic and one vegetarian, all are cooked on a tray in the oven.

I recoil at using too many pots and pans when I’m cooking at home. I don’t have the luxury of having a washer-upper like we do in the restaurant.

I’m using celeriac with pork steak this week. There’s a risk that the pork will be overcooked and the celeriac undercooked, so the thickness of the celeriac is paramount. I’m adding mushrooms, bacon and sherry. They are all best friends.   But I know I’m risking predictability here, so to offset this I’m giving you the recipe for a sort of walnut pesto too. It’s optional not compulsory, but it is lovely.

A pork steak roast for two. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times
A pork steak roast with celeriac and mushrooms. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
A salt baked vegetable feast with wild garlic aioli. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times
A salt baked vegetable feast with wild garlic aioli. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Lamb shoulder is underrated. Why is it always about the leg? This dish bursts with Middle Eastern flavours. You will need to marinate the lamb in the yoghurt overnight for best results. Slow cooking is very satisfying. There’s so little minding to it, pour yourself a big gin and tonic and read the Sunday papers.

Salt baking vegetables might seem pointless to some. At its most complex, the vegetables are enveloped in a salty dough and baked into a succulent revelation, but to be honest it’s all a bit too much work. I’m taking a shortcut here by laying vegetables on a bed of salt and baking them. This concentrates their flavour and promotes them to the premier league. Serve with rice, pasta or cous cous as a vegetarian main course.

The wild garlic season has just started. If you know where to find it, gather it enthusiastically and embrace its musky loveliness. I’m making a wild garlic purée as you can use it for lots of things, and it keeps in the fridge. If you can’t get wild garlic, the aioli will still be lovely without.

Recipe: Pork steak and friends

Recipe: Spiced lamb shoulder, bulgur wheat with aubergine, pepper, tahini dressing

Recipe: Salt-baked vegetables with wild garlic aioli

 

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