Monday, November 17, 2008

Jarrets d'agneau avec tomates et olives

For my birthday this year, Mom and Dad got me a slow cooker, perfect for those nights when I'm working late and want to come home to dinner already-made, warm and delicious. And since neither the Boy nor Ozzy are proficient cooks, it's up to the slow cooker to satisfy me. It's also wonderful at making braises and stews--two of our favorite winter mains. So as the weather gets colder and colder, I have a feeling I'll be using the slow cooker more and more.

Thus far, I've used it twice--the first time to make braised green cabbage (I adapted the oven-cooked recipe to use it in the slow cooker and greatly enjoyed it after returning home from class at 10.30 pm) and the second time to make these delicious lamb shanks. I'm still working out cooking times and settings (the recipe times are what I'm sure would work perfectly, not exactly what I did), but I am getting the hang of it and it's wonderfully easy to use. It also means that you can cook your main in the slow cooker and still have your stovetop and oven free to make any sides--a real boon in a New York apartment. The only thing is, you can't lift the top off to check the meat or you'll add another 20 minutes to the cooking time. I already know this is going to be the hardest thing to get used to. For example, in this recipe, I didn't want to cook the olives as long as the meat, but, because I opened the top to put them in partway through the cooking process, the meat wasn't as tender as it should have been. I believe an extra half-hour would have done the trick.

What do you like to make it your slow cooker?

Jarrets d'agneau avec tomates et olives

(adapted from How to Cook Everything, my cooking bible)

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown lamb shanks on all sides and season with 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1 dash lavender and 1/8 teaspoon pepper as they cook. Set lamb aside on a plate. Lower heat to medium and saute shallots and sliced garlic until lightly cooked, about 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Empty contents of skillet into slow cooker. Add stock, 1/8 teaspoon salt, dash lavender, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and tomatoes. Add lamb, nestling it down into tomato mixture as much as possible (this will depend primarily on how deep your slow cooker is). Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 2h30. After first 30 minutes, add olives, then close slow cooker again and continue cooking, without interruption, for 2 hours. Garnish with basil and serve. Enjoy!

Links to other shank noshes:

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