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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Roast Redux Salad

Leftovers can sometimes be a hard sell.  Not many people like eating exactly the same thing for dinner then lunch, then dinner again.  Which can be a problem if you've made, say, a large roast and a LOT is left in the fridge.  For some reason, leftover roast (be it beef, pork or lamb) lingers at our house.  Maybe because no one wants to deal with slicing it once it's cold, maybe because reheated roast tends to get dry, or maybe because it can be just plain boring to eat the same meat-plus-two-veggies for back-to-back meals.

Interestingly, I couldn't persuade anyone to eat the leftovers of the roast I used to make this dish, but my husband took the leftovers of the repurposed leftovers twice for lunch.  This leftover salad is just that good.

This grain-based salad is inspired by a recipe from Julia Child's The Way to Cook for managing leftover lamb roast.  I did make this with thinly sliced leftover leg of lamb, but I think it would be good with beef or pork roast too.  I made it with bulgur as the grain base (per Julia's directions), but rice, quinoa or couscous would be good too...just be sure to cook the grain according to package directions.

Now the tomato and onion roasting is NOT a fast process and you don't really have to do it (Julia didn't, she just put these ingredients in her salad raw).  But it made the winter hothouse tomatoes de-lish-us and roasting takes that sharp, bitey heat out of the onion that you'll get if you leave it raw.

You can do all of this a day in advance, which is precisely what I did (if you roast the veggies, I'd fridge them for 2 or 3 days even, for as long as you fridge your leftover roast).  I got to walk in the door after work to a fully prepared meal.  And THAT, in addition to how good it tasted, is the real beauty of this meal.

Roast Redux Salad
Makes 4-6 servings

For roasted veggies:

1 onion, peeled, trimmed and thickly sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 tsp honey
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
pinch salt

For bulgur:

1 1/3 cups quick cooking bulgur
1/2 cup green bell peppers, chopped
1 1/3 cup chicken stock

For dressing:
1 clove garlic
1 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

1/2 lb. (or so) leftover roast, thinly sliced or cubed
1 cup raisins (optional)

If you are making the roasted veggies, toss onion and tomatoes with honey, oil, herbs and salt.  Roast at 200F for about 5 hours.  Store in fridge up to 3 days.

For bulgur, mix together dry bulgur and peppers in a container that has a tight-fitting cover.  Heat stock to boiling (I do this in the microwave) and pour over bulgur.  Mix well, cover and let stand at least 1 hour.  Put the veggies on top now if you like.  Store in the fridge up to 1 day.

For dressing, finely chop or mash garlic and zest.  Whisk in oil, vinegar and seasoning.  Leave on countertop up to 1 day (if you fridge the dressing, you'll have to give it some time to warm back up before serving as the olive oil will get thick in the fridge).

To serve, put bulgur salad and veggies in a microwave-safe container and zap 3-4 minutes, just to take the chill off.  Top with cold sliced roast, raisins and dressing to taste.

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