I am sure a lot of you can relate to the distaste of having a late dinner on a weeknight due to the simple fact that you don’t usually get home from work anytime before 6pm. Well unless you’re a Uni student of course. So this post really revolves around being prepared with a trusty’ slowcooker. This recipe combines some of my favourite italian flavours all in one slow cooker, ready for you when you come home at dinner time on a weeknight.
I actually started prepping this dish one morning before work! It didn’t take too long to get it all ready – perhaps allow yourself about 10 minutes for prep. I pulled together all the ingredients I needed the night before and then very quickly prepared the meal whilst I was in my usual half awake, half getting ready early morning state.
The beauty about this dish (or any slowcooked meal really) is that through that long cooking process, you end up tenderizing the protein/meat so much that it simply melts in your mouth. It also allows the flavours of your fresh and dry herbs to develop and melt into the dish!
Once I got home, all I had to do was prepare my cooked garlic kale salad and then simmer down the liquid from the slow cooker to get could get a sauce. There’s such a technique to balancing your sauce which I haven’t quite nailed yet but what you want to focus is for is usually depth (this is usually done in the early stages of preparing the base of the sauce) as well as the balance of sweet, salty and acidity. Never forget that acidity plays such a strong role in the balance of sauces and this is where either lemons or vinegar come into play. For this dish, I used red wine vinegar.
- 500g Lamb shoulder
- 1 bottle of canned tomatoes or flavoured pasta sauce
- 1 cup of dry red wine
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1½ star anise
- 5 cloves
- 3 garlic cloves
- Half bunch of kale, chopped
- 2 garlic gloves, chopped finely
- 1 lemon, juiced and skin grated
- 2 tsp of white sugar, or adjusted to taste
- ½ cup of red wine vinegar, or adjusted to taste
- Pour 4tbsp olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Toss in your dried herbs (star anise, cloves) and your garlic to extract the natural oils for approx 1-2 mins.
- Throw in the rest of the fresh herbs into the pan and let it cook for about 1 minute.
- Place the lamb shoulder in the pan and seal on all sides. Once completed, put all incredients into the slowcooker and include the dry red wine.
- Put slowcooker on low heat if more than 8 hours cook time. Put it on medium heat if its more than 4 hours cook time. Put on high heat if more than 2 hours cook time.
- To cook the salad, chop up the kale and slice the garlic. Heat up a pan with the rest of the olive oil for 30 seconds then throw in the chopped garlic.
- Once garlic has softened, cook the kale til the leaves wilt. Add a little bit of lemon juice to taste. Season with salt.
- Pour the cooking liquid through a strainer and onto a pan. Let it simmer on medium heat for approx 5-10 minutes (until consistency of a stock).
- Use salt, sugar and vinegar to balance the sauce to your liking.