Slow cooked lamb stew

Stew is like a hug when you drive through some fog home on a dark night (which is incidentally how I spent my 15 minute drive home from the gym after work). Especially when its been in the slow cooker for nearly 12 hours and the meat just breaks apart…..

Anyway, I’d say if you’re not altogether confident in your cooking abilities but want to come home to delicious homemade food instead of ready meals this recipe is for you. I’d recommend getting a slow cooker to anybody for the simple reason that it makes cheap cuts of meat taste really tender and delicious. There really is no point putting something like a fillet steak in there when it cooks beef skirt to perfection.

As a fluke my lamb, tomato and red wine stew ended up tasting very much like the goulash my dad makes. For this particular recipe I used:

A packet of lamb neck fillets (chops are amazing in this but I got the neck fillet purely because I wanted to make use of a 2 for £7 offer in Asda)

2 shallots (or 1 onion)

Half a leek

A can of tomatoes (I actually used Asda Smartprice and they worked really well)

A clove of garlic

A green pepper

Approx 1/4 pint of stock

A good splash of Henderson’s relish (you can use Worcester sauce if that’s what’s in your cupboard)

A glass of red wine

A teaspoon of paprika

1/2 a teaspoon of cumin

A bay leaf

A knob of butter

Vegetable oil

(This makes enough for 2 – 3 people).

The night before you plan to eat the stew chop your shallots/onions (I cried my eye make-up off doing this bit and spent the rest of my evening looking racoon-esque), slice your garlic and leeks. Chop your lamb into pieces; you can leave it whole if you want though, when I use lamb chops I don’t cut them up. Heat the oil and butter, fry the shallots, leek and garlic until soft and throw in the lamb and fry just long enough so that the lamb browns to add some flavour.

Once you are happy that the meat is mostly browned on the outside put it in your slow cooker. Pour in the contents of your can of tomatoes (you might want to chop them up a little first, but don’t go mad), put in your glass of wine, slice your pepper and put in, add your stock and seasons and stir. It will look a tiny bit uninspiring at this point.

Say bye bye Mr Stew!

Then leave overnight. I hope this allows the flavours to develop but in all honesty I prepare it all the night before because I love my bed and don’t want to get up especially early to prepare it.

The following morning switch on your slow cooker to the low heat setting. If yo know you’re the type of person who is more than a little scatterbrained in a morning you could use one of those timer plugs to make sure it switches on. Leave for however long you want to (at least 4 hours).

Still not much prettier but look at the lovely tomatoey colour!

You can leave this cooking while you prepare things to go with this. I had my stew with boiled potatoes and brocoli but it honestly goes well with anything; bread, rice, pasta, cous cous. The beauty of it is that you can leave it heating while you wait for something like brown rice to cook but if you wanted to collapse into a heap it’d be ready quickly enough to serve with crusty bread.

A hearty meal your mother would be proud of
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