6 Ways to Use Leftover Lamb

Cooking a whole leg of lamb this Easter? You’re definitely going to have some leftovers, and we have some ideas for how to use them.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Hemp Seed Pesto
Photo: © John Kernick

A leg of lamb is an Easter classic, and a wonderful centerpiece for any kind of fancy dinner in the spring. But it's also a whole lot of lamb, meaning that unless your guests are very hungry, you're bound to have some leftovers. That's OK! Leftovers can be a gift. Roast leg of lamb is a particularly versatile piece of meat. Its subtle gaminess and slight sweetness lend it to all kinds of flavor profiles. Lamb leftovers can be transformed into a whole range of other meals, from opulent sandwiches to soups to delicious salads. It's always great when one big dinner turns into two or three meals without as much effort. Here are six ways to do it.

Lamb Rogan Josh

Lamb Rogan Josh
© Tina Rupp

If you have a lot of leftover lamb — something in the range of two pounds — incorporating it into Lamb Rogan Josh, a succulent stew spiced with ginger, garlic, garam masala, Madras curry powder, and other aromatics, is an excellent way to go. All you need to do is skip the initial step that has you brown the lamb, since the lamb will already be cooked. Then proceed with the recipe as written, and serve with naan or basmati rice.

Harissa-Lamb Skillet Lasagna

Harissa-Lamb Skillet Lasagna
Justin Walker

This dish takes its flavor from harissa, an excellent chile-based condiment and sauce used widely in Morocco, Tunisia, and other North African countries. Chicken broth dials up the lasagne's richness. Instead of using ground lamb as called for in the recipe, simply chop your leftover lamb into small pieces and proceed with the second step, substituting olive oil for the rendered fat.

Turkish Ground Lamb Pizzas

Turkish Ground-Lamb Pizzas
© Michael Turek

So many leftovers can be transformed into homemade pizza with a little ingenuity. Though the original version of this recipe calls for cooked ground lamb, bite-sized pieces of cooked roasted lamb could also work well here, particularly when combined with the parsley and runny egg these pizzas call for.

Pasta with Abruzzi-Style Lamb Sauce

Pasta with Abruzzi-Style Lamb Sauce

The great Italian cookbook author Marcella Hazan makes her Abruzzi-style lamb sauce with lamb shoulder, so leftover leg of lamb would be an easy swap. It calls for half a pound of lamb, so it's a good choice if you have some leftovers, but not enough to make, say, the Lamb Rogan Josh. Heating the cooked lamb in pancetta and rosemary will infuse more flavor into the meat for this richly flavored sauce, paired with penne.

Irish Lamb Pies with Herbs (Dingle Pies)

Dingle Pies Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Dingle, or Kerry, pies are savory lamb pies, a specialty of the Dingle Peninsula in southwestern Ireland. This recipe can easily be adapted to utilize your already-cooked lamb; simply toss it in with the cooked aromatics as you would raw lamb, then skip the browning step and proceed as directed. If you don't have the full amount of leftover lamb to use, you can divide the recipe to make fewer pies.

Warm Lamb Salad with Fresh Herbs, Feta, and Artichokes

Warm Lamb Salad with Fresh Herbs, Feta and Artichokes
© Con Poulos

Lamb makes a gorgeous addition to a fresh, bright salad, This one requires a cooked leg of lamb and hey, you already have that! Combining the unctuousness of lamb with crisp vegetables and briney feta makes for a salad that's light enough for early spring, but hearty enough to be a main course.

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