Major blogger fail this time. I forgot to take a photo of the dish before I served/ate it (unhappy face). What a plonker. In my defence, I was dealing with trying to get a meal out, whilst also making a pudding, whilst one child tried to eat a glow stick (those things do not taste good apparently, and stink! But are thankfully not toxic…). The Husband actually carted said child off to wash out her mouth and her hands, whilst trying not to retch at the smell – he’s not very good with bad smells (nappy changing was always entertaining). And that was in addition to the usual chaos going on around me. So I forgot. Sorry. But there were leftovers, so I’ve taken a photo of them, it’s just not as pretty (again, unhappy face).
So this was a slow cooker meal. Have I mentioned my love affair with my slow cooker? In fact, *whispers* I have two! A 3.5 litre and a 6 litre. I tend to use the 3.5 litre more, but the ‘big yin’ is great for whole chunks of meat. A slow cooker can make even the cheapest, toughest meat melt in the mouth. You do a bit of prep, chuck it all in, and then leave it, and your evening meal is made. Magic! And seemingly it only uses the same amount of electricity as a lightbulb, so economical too. Love it!
If you don’t have a slow cooker though, this can be done in the oven. It can either be cooked all day at a lower heat (about 6 hours at 130C), or for a couple of hours at 180C. This should serve about 4 adults.
1 red onion, sliced
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp plain flour
100ml red wine
20ml balsamic vinegar
1 tin chopped tomatoes
300ml lamb or chicken stock
veg of your choice
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp garlic
When it comes to meat, I’m not particularly knowledgable. I tend to go by quantity and price. For this I bought a whole boneless shoulder of lamb. It meant I had to cut it up, and remove a reasonable amount of fat, but as it was a Sunday morning, I could allow the time. You could easily use cubed lamb for ease, and choose leaner lamb if you’re trying to be good (although a bit of fat gives more taste, typically). As it’s being slow cooked, the meat will become tender whatever cut you choose, so choosing a cheaper cut is the bonus of slow cooking.
Once you’ve prepped your meat (if necessary) pop it into a plastic bag with the flour and seasoning. Give it a good shake to coat (this is what will thicken the sauce).
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and throw in your meat to brown. I tend to do this in a couple of batches otherwise the pan gets too overcrowded. Once the meat is browned, pop it into your slow cooker (or your ovenproof dish).
You’ll be left with a pan looking something like this. You want all that meaty goodness that’s stuck to the bottom of the pan, so add another tablespoon of oil, then the onion. Let it start to soften a bit (only a few minutes, the onion doesn’t need to fully soften at this point), then add the garlic for a minute. Add to that the tomatoes, vinegar and wine. For small measures like the vinegar, I have a handy little measuring jug:
Let the mixture come to boil then simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring it often, until you can feel the bits stuck to the bottom start to loosen. Pour this into the slow cooker or dish, with the veg (chopped into large chunks) and the rosemary, and season. Cook in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high – or in the oven as mentioned above.
I served this with lovely buttery mash and green veg. But this is the only photo I have of the finished product:
It doesn’t look particularly pretty, but it was bloody lovely. Perfect for a wintery Sunday. If you like lamb, definitely give it a go.