After braising two of the now dubiously cool Niman Ranch lamb shanks, I found myself staring into the pool of leftover liquid, thinking "now what?"
We served the shanks on the bone, in the center of the table, with in-apartment tortillas to cradle the hand-torn meat. The lamb was great, but so much of its umph was left behind in the juices it had cooked in, and there was only so much of it (lots) that we could spoon over our meat.
As I gazed into the bowl of orange juice, fennel seeds, onion stock, whole peppercorns, garlic cloves, and lamb fat, I suddenly had a vision of incredibly flavorful flatbread.
I made Bittman's socca, a staple in my kitchen, but instead of water I used the rich slurry described above. The lamby liquid worked perfectly with the slightly sweet chickpea flour, and the flatbread/pancakes were studded with mashed potato-soft chunks of garlic and onion. My test batch was so good that I made a whole stack of them for company the next night, simply mixing the braising liquid with the chickpea flour and pan frying on the range.
I'm thrilled to have found yet another way to close the kitchen loop. Often my braising liquid is made up of odds and ends anyway, so the thought of stretching it out into one more meal really tickles the stingy environmentalist in me. Luckily, it also appeals to my inner glutton.
And what else are you going to do, throw it out?
Recipe: Leftover Braising Liquid Flatbread
Simply follow any of Mark Bittman's recipes for flatbread, substituting leftover braising liquid for water.