It’s crazy windy at my house and cold by California standards. It was 45 degrees when I left this morning to trundle my boys off to the bus. I count myself lucky. This winter has been insane on the East Coast and the Midwest. Not long ago my Wyoming and Colorado friends awoke to temperatures closer to 25 degrees BELOW zero. Crazy. All of this cold and wind makes me want to cook things S-L-O-W-L-Y. I love the smells generated by a braised dish, either one done in the oven or in the slow cooker. Things always seem a bit better, safer, cozier, with hearty food slowly prepping in the kitchen.
This recipe can be doubled in a large slow cooker. When I doubled it I doubled everything except the canned tomatoes – I just didn’t have room in my 7-quart cooker for that much liquid. The recipe works either way. If you are entirely opposed to stovetop prep work, skip all of the preparatory work that I suggest and put everything in your slow cooker to start. I don’t think the end results are quite as good – but I understand that many folks who use slow cookers do so because they are trying to throw dinner together as they hurry out the door in the morning. The prep work will take about 20-25 minutes and it will make a noticeable difference in the outcome. Remember that braised dishes are always better on the second day. You could do the prep work in the evening, run the slow cooker overnight, pop the cooking bowl in the fridge all day, and gently reheat it for dinner the next day. There are lots and lots of options with a slow cooker.
Slow Cooker Braised Boneless Leg of Lamb
- One 3-4 lb boneless leg of lamb
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 2 cups of carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ¾ cup dry red wine
- 1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup beef broth
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Sprinkle the lamb with the salt and pepper. Brown the lamb on both sides in the olive oil. Remove and set aside.
Add the onions, garlic, shallots, dried rosemary and thyme to the pan and sauté for ten minutes. Add the flour and stir quickly until it coats the onion/herb mixture. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, take it off the heat.
Put half of the liquid in the bottom of your slow cooker. Place the lamb in the broth. Pour the other half of the broth/onion/herb mixture on top of the lamb. Turn on your slow cooker and cook for 10 hours on low, or 5 ½ hours on high.
Once you are ready to serve dinner you have two options. First, you can remove the lamb from the sauce and serve it over rice, mashed potatoes, polenta or noodles. Pour sauce over the top when you serve it. The second option takes a bit more effort (and time) but makes for a richer sauce. Leave your slow cooker set on the “warm” setting. Using a ladle or a cup measure remove most of the liquid, leaving behind the meat and the carrots and onions. Put the liquid in a medium-sized saucepan and bring it to a boil. Boil the broth until it has reduced in volume by half. This should take about 20 minutes. If you are ready to serve dinner, serve the lamb and carrots and onions and spoon the now thicker, more rich tasting broth over the top. If you aren’t quite ready to eat, return the thicker broth to the slow cooker and leave it set on “warm” until you are ready to eat.