"greek lamb stew"

Ok, so it has been 3 weeks since Mummy posted about her weight loss journey. You noticed, didn’t you? πŸ˜‰ In that time, she lost another 4lb – mostly due to a tummy bug (also the reason she has not kept up with her Mutu exercises). Then she gained it again – mostly due to this:

Greek Lamb Stew: (463 WeightWatchers points per person) Serves 8

*Clearly this does not have 463 WeightWatchers points per person as that would be just ridiculous, but there are a lot. But hey, dinner party points don’t count, right? (Mummy)

Mummy has long been devouring the slow cooker creations posted on Mediocre Mum’s blog, and this week her brand new slow cooker arrived. It didn’t stay looking new for long as she immediately set to transforming Nigella Lawson’s greek lamb stew, from How to Eat, into a slow cooker dinner party recipe. The slow cooker wasn’t large enough for the 8 servings, but that didn’t deter her. Half went in the device, half in a regular casserole dish in the oven!

The taste test was inconclusively delicious, Mummy says and my mates parents were impressed. At the end of the day, it is stew. With pasta. But I ate the leftovers….

We changed the ingredients, for various reasons, explained as we go.

You will need:
4 tbsps olive oil
2.5 kg boned shoulder of lamb, trimmed of fat and and cubed
700g onions, sliced finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, cut into thick batons
leaves from 4 sprigs of rosemary, chopped finely (the recipe prescribes thyme, but we forgot to buy it, and there is a rosemary bush in next door’s garden πŸ˜† )
1 tsp dried organo
3 bay leaves
3 400g tins chopped tomatoes
300ml lamb stock
1 bottle dry white wine
300g orzo (rice-shaped pasta). Nigella uses 500g macaroni, but we found 3oog ample
300g feta cheese
handful of chopped basil leaves

Preheat your slow-cooker on a high heat, or your oven to 140ΒΊC.

Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a heavy based saucepan and brown the meat in batches, removing to a plate with a slotted spoon.Β  Add the remaining oil and the onions to the pan and cook on a low heat until softened. Season and add the garlic, celery, rosemary and oregano. Cook for a few minutes more.

Add half the mixture to the slow cooker (or to a casserole dish if you don’t have one). Pile the cooked lamb on top, followed by the remaining onion mixture. Add the tomatoes, stock and wine, and poke the carrots and bay leaves into the mix. If you are using a conventional oven, put the casserole on the heat and bring to the boil, then cover and place in the oven. For a slow-cooker, cover the dish, place in the cooker, and montior until bubbles start to appear. Then reduce the heat to low.

In both cases, cook the stew for up to 7 hours. The slower and the longer, the better the flavour and tenderness of the meat. When you are ready to serve, transfer the stew to a hob-proof pan or dish. Nigella removes the carrots now, but we left them in to eat, fishing out only the bay leaves. At this stage we noticed a lot of fat sitting on the top, so we placed some folded kitchen roll on the surface of the stew, to soak some of it away. Remove the paper, bring to the boil and add the orzo. Simmer for around 15 minutes, until the pasta is cooked, adding a little water if it seems dry.

Crumble the feta cheese, mix with the chopped basil, and hand round to be sprinkled on top of the stew as it is served.

This may all seem like a bit of a faff for a slow-cooker recipe, but it really is worth the extra effort, so do try it – you won’t be disappointed!

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Best recipes of 2012

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