I’ve made leg of lamb in the crock pot four times now, and each time I do, I marvel at just how good it is. I’ve baked, broiled, and barbecued lamb, but the crock pot leg of lamb really comes out the best.
Lamb has a tendency to dry out. That’s just not a possibility if it is cooked slowly in its own juices in a crock pot.
Americans eat a fraction of the amount of lamb (only one pound per year) consumed around the world where it is the most eaten meat. That’s too bad since this red meat is very healthful and extremely delicious, having a very tender and buttery quality. Lamb is the meat from young sheep that are less than one year old. It is usually available in five different cuts including the shoulder, rack, shank/breast, loin, and leg.
In this simple recipe, you take a leg of lamb from the fridge in the morning, coat it with a delicious garlic and herb rub and put it in your slow cooker. Then throw in some veggies. Six to eight hours later, when you return home from work, you have a perfectly-cooked and well-seasoned complete meal that is ready to serve for dinner.
Lamb is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. It is also a good source of easily-absorbable iron, B12 and other B vitamins, folate and choline, as well as providing eight essential amino acids and trace minerals such as zinc and selenium, essential to thyroid function.
|Shopping for Lamb
||Organic lamb usually has a higher nutrient quality than conventional. The organic label does not guarantee a natural, healthy lifestyle for the lambs. It just reduces the chance they are fed GMO corn and soy.
||Even better, ask for 100% grass-fed. Don’t be fooled by labeling terms like natural” or “pasture-raised.” Labeling laws allow products to display these terms even if lambs spend little or no time outdoors in a pasture setting. Unfortunately, even the term “grass-fed” is not sufficient since grass-fed lambs may have spent a relatively small amount of time grass feeding. The standard to look for on the label is “100% grass-fed.” Talk to your grocer or farmer and find out how the animals were actually raised.
|Organic AND grassfed
||Organic, 100% grass-fed lamb may be available from local farms with small flocks, which provide a natural lifestyle for their lambs. Two websites that can help you find small local farms in your area are www.localharvest.org and www.eatwild.com.
Why Use a Crock Pot?
While other slow cookers have their heating elements at the base, requiring stirring to prevent food from sticking, a Crock Pot has its heating elements on the sides of its housing. A Crock-Pot heats up to temperatures of only 200 to 300 F. The lower temperatures create fewer advanced glycation end products (AGEs), compounds formed by heating fats, sugars and proteins, which are not good for your health. AGEs a make you AGE!
Serves 4 | Prep Time: 20 min | Cook time 6-8 hrs
- 1 leg of lamb with or without bone (that will fit in your CrockPot – if not, get the butcher to cut off the shank end)
- 1 lemon
- 5 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. coarse salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup wine, chicken or beef stock or water
- 1/2 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery
- parsley for garnish (and nutrients of course)
On a chopping board, pat your lamb dry with paper towels. Finely grate about half the zest off the lemon and grind into a paste with the garlic, rosemary, oil, salt and pepper using a mortar and pestle. Rub the paste all over the lamb.
If you like, let it sit on the countertop for half an hour or so, or refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Put it into the CrockPot. Add about half a cup of your wine, stock or water. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over your prized lamb.
Add your favorite chopped veggies. Potatoes, carrots, celery, turnip an onion…whatever you have lying around.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Serve with your slow cooked veggies and garnish with your cooked-to-death rosemary fresh parsley.