Ok, so it has been 3 weeks since I posted about my weight loss journey. In that time, I lost another 4lb – mostly due to a tummy bug. Then I gained it again, mostly due to this – the best Greek Lamb stew recipe I’ve ever found:
Greek Lamb Stew: (463 WeightWatchers points per person (this may be an exaggeration) 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?
I have long been devouring slow cooker creations via the medium of my guilty pleasure Pinterest recipe boards, and this week my brand new slow cooker arrived. It didn’t stay looking new for long as I immediately set to transforming Nigella Lawson’s greek lamb stew, from How to Eat, into a slow cooker dinner party recipe. Our smallish slow cooker wasn’t large enough for the 8 servings, but that didn’t deter me. Half went in the device, half in a regular casserole dish in the oven.
The taste test was resoundingly delicious, and even the kids’ mates were impressed. It’s actually the perfect recipe to cook for one of those glorious afternoons where you invite family or friends and have to feed the children as well. Greek lamb stew with Feta cheese just about converts a basic casserole into something quite classy, but you could leave the cheese out for the children if they’re fussy, and add it at the last minute for the grown ups. Spoon some into bowls for the kids, then send them off to their own endeavours while you ladle out the rest for the adults. Keeping the carrots in makes sure everyone eats at least some veg. And if you’re worried about having enough, just have a loaf of Pavé or a decent baguette on standby to mop up the juices.
At the end of the day, it is stew. With pasta. And cheese. But there were no leftovers….
We changed the ingredients, for various reasons, explained as we go.
Incredible Greek Lamb Stew based on Nigella Lawson’s recipe
- 4 tbsps olive oil
- 2.5 kg boned shoulder of lamb trimmed of fat and and cubed
- 700 g 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 😆 )
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 400 g tins chopped tomatoes
- 300 ml lamb stock
- 1 bottle dry white wine
- 300 g orzo rice-shaped pasta. Nigella uses 500g macaroni, but we found 300g ample
- 300 g feta cheese
- handful of chopped basil leaves
- Preheat your slow-cooker on a high heat, or your oven to 140ºC.
- 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. 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 monitor 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. They're the softest, sweetest way to eat vegetables! 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.
I think this is the kind of stew recipe to which you could add almost anything and it wouldn’t suffer. Chopped up celery could remain in the dish when you serve, green beans would give it added freshness on the side, even aubergine could work. It’s also the perfect crockpot recipe for greek lamb stew – I tend to do the prep the night before, while I’m making dinner for that evening, and then just throw everything in and leave it for 24 hours on the lowest heat setting, ready for the next night!
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For more recipes with minimal effort take a look at my easy family food ideas.