I bought some local lamb shanks a few months ago on a whim, intending to braise them with some carrots for Easter. Well, time got away from me and the Easter bunny is long gone, along with this season’s carrots. And there’s no way I’m braising anything in the oven in this weather. What to do with that lamb in my freezer?
The solution to my quandary came last week along with some eggplant and onions in our Local Box. When I was planning my menu, I found several recipes for lamb and eggplant with Mediterranean seasonings, including Iraqi Lamb and Eggplant Stew, Moroccan Braised Lamb and Eggplant, and Spiced Lamb Stew with Eggplants, Tomatoes and Peppers. I used all three source recipes to create a new stew for my slow cooker, with sliced lamb shanks, plenty of spices, eggplants and tomatoes in a rich broth.
Slow cooking is an ideal way to cook tough or lean cuts of meat in the summer. Its moist, low heat breaks down cartilage and connective tissues, and its energy efficiency allows you to cook meat for a long time without heating up your kitchen. When cooking with a slow-cooker, it’s good to keep the following tips in mind:
- For even cooking, always put vegetables in the crock first, followed by meats and liquids.
- Use the right amount of food: the slow cooker should be between half and two-thirds of the way full before cooking.
- Keep the lid on the slow cooker for the entire cooking time, removing it only to check for doneness or to stir as the recipe directs. No peeking!
1 large onion, diced
1, 10 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lamb shank cut into two-inch sections, about 1 pound of meat
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1/2 cup wine or beef broth
1 teaspoon pepper