I’ll admit I’m still in the fledgeling stages of adulthood whereby I believe the secret to ‘sound financial management‘ will be a skill I magically pick up someday. Until such time as divine intervention, my grasp on an even distribution of my pay will continue to be an entirely cooked affair. But as I’m sure you’ll have an appreciation for too, there are valuable lessons to be learned from being broke all of the time. Lessons that could easily be avoided? Sure. But hey, such is life.
One valuable takeaway from unnecessarily pinching every penny is an acute awareness of a cheap meal – and the real pros in this field can not only pick ones that they can feasibly buy given the state of their bank balance, but select meals that’ll keep ’em sustained in terms of nutrition while they’re battening down the hatches.
In order to avoid scurvy and whatnot, these all-knowing humans often turn to lamb-based meals for their feeds because they’re just as affordable as any option out there (and, depending on your vibes, a great deal tastier). So on that note, here are a few fab lamb recipe options to call upon when you’re about to get your mum on the blower to beg for some moola.
BANGIN’ LAMB SLIDER-ESQUE BURGERS // SERVES 10
Now, this might come as a shock for some of you, but did you know you can eat a great burger without dropping your entire pay at some boutique/artisan vendor?! All you have to do is make them yourself. Crazy stuff, I know. Make this one up for your roomies (this recipe makes heaps) to be the most popular human in your crib.
500g lamb mince ($7)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard ($2 for new jar)
1½ tbsp olive oil (should have this in your crib)
1 onion, thinly sliced ($0.44)
10 small slices of cheese ($3.50)
10 small burger buns ($3)
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce ($2)
10 slices of tomato ($1.20)
Ketchup or BBQ sauce, to serve
TOTAL COST: $19.20(ish) // $1.92 per serve
- Combine the lamb with the mustard and some salt and pepper and mix to combine. Form into 10 patties and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Place 1 tbsp of olive oil into a frying pan over a moderate heat and add the sliced onion. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until nicely coloured and crispy, stirring every now and then.
- Preheat a chargrill or barbecue to moderately high. Brush the patties with the remaining oil and cook for 2 ½ minutes. Turnover, place a cheese slice on top of each patty and cook for a further 2 ½ minutes or until cooked through. Set aside.
- Top the bottoms of the buns with the lettuce and tomato, then place a patty on top. Add the onions and a squirt of sauce. Place the lids on top and serve.
DAMN-FINE SHEPARD’S PIE // SERVES 6
This one’s good to call upon when you’re missing homecooked meals, ‘cos you’ll get your fix and you can’t stuff it up.
750g lamb mince ($8)
150ml hella cheap red wine ($5 for the bottle)
300ml vegetable stock (make it from stock cubes, which cost around $1)
50g cornflour ($1.90 for new packet)
Dried mixed herbs ($2)
Olive oil (should have this in your crib)
3 red onions, finely diced ($1.50)
2 cloves garlic, crushed ($0.72)
4 desiree potatoes, peeled and chopped ($3.50)
TOTAL COST: $21.50 // $3.58 per serve
- Place oil in a pan and sweat the onion and garlic until soft.
- Add the lamb mince and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the red wine. Reduce by half then add the stock. Cook for about 20 minutes.
- Add enough water to the corn flour to make a slurry then slowly pour into the lamb. Stir quickly with a wooden spoon. Continue until the sauce has thickened to ‘pie’ consistency.
- Add a good helping of mixed herbs then cook on low for a further 10 minutes.
- Cool the mince mixture in a baking dish. While cooling, cook potato in salted boiling water for 15 minutes, drain well and mash. Season and spoon on top of the lamb mixture. Cook in the oven at 180°C for 12-15 minutes or until the mash turns golden.
STICKY BBQ FOREQUARTER CHOPS // SERVES 4
Get around this damn-fine dish, y’all. Who doesn’t love some sticky lamb?!
8 lamb forequarter chops, trimmed ($12)
½ cup hoisin sauce, plus extra for greens ($2.50)
1 tbsp brown sugar ($2.70)
1 tsp sesame oil, plus extra for greens and mushrooms ($2.60)
250 g mixed Asian mushrooms ($7.50)
1 clove garlic, crushed ($0.72)
2 bunches choy sum, chopped into 8cm lengths ($2.50)
Steamed brown rice, to serve ($2.30)
TOTAL COST: $32.50(ish) // $8.20 per serve
- Pat chops dry with paper towel and place on a plate. Mix hoisin, sugar and sesame oil in a bowl with 1 tablespoon warm water until smooth. Brush marinade onto lamb.
- Preheat a chargrill pan over high heat until very hot. Place a piece of baking paper on the grill to prevent sticking and place lamb chops on the baking paper. Cook in batches to prevent overcrowding. Cook lamb for 4-5 minutes each side until marks appear and lamb is cooked to medium. Rest for 5 minutes.
- Wash choy sum and toss in a hot frying pan or wok for 30 seconds or until just wilted. Remove and drizzle with a little sesame oil. Add mushrooms and garlic to the frying pan and toss for 1 minute.
- Serve lamb with choy sum, mushrooms and steamed brown rice.
Happy eating, y’all.