This week’s recipe is very near and dear to me. It comes with a bit of a back story.
When I first began eating healthier, I quickly learned that the slow-cooker was my friend. I was adventurous while perusing the butcher’s meat selection, taking a stab at excessively large and cheap cuts thinking, “I can just throw it in the crock pot.”
Turns out, this is a fairly fool-proof way of cooking. Anyone can do it. Some hard veggies, a lot of flavor, and a giant hunk of animal is all you need for a hearty dinner. Better yet, it takes just a few minutes of prep, and there’s no harm in leaving it on all day. I could leave my house and come home to a gorgeous smelling meal.
Later on, I graduated to the Instant Pot. This thing is a miracle, I tell ya. If you enjoy cooking, the Instant Pot is the quintessential kitchen appliance. Its all-in-one capabilities make it a pressure cooker above all, but you can easily steam veggies, make yogurt, or use it as a slow cooker.
The thing about it that I love the most? Pressure cooking is much like fast slow cooking. This means I have similar meals in a fraction of the time. 5 pounds of meat is easily turned into edible, melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness in 60 minutes or less guaranteed. While I don’t think that this is a downfall of modern society the way I think, say, microwaves are, I do believe it takes away from the experience of cooking overall.
I recently watched ‘Cooked,’ a series on Netflix with Michael Pollan. He’s best known for his book, ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma.’ I read all of his books a few years back and my foodie frenzy was born. I became conscious of the source of my foods and how much time I spent in the kitchen. My “from scratch” mentality has only strengthened since then. It’s better if I cook it, and it’s best if I enjoy cooking it.
The episodes or chapters if you’re reading the book focus on the elements; air, fire, earth, and water. I was particularly intrigued by the water episode.
His main example is using a Dutch oven to braise a large cut of meat. I thought to myself, “Alex, you cannot be a chef! You have never braised a thing! You don’t even have a Dutch oven.” As I chastised myself for being a fool, I headed on over to Amazon to order my brand new cast iron Dutch oven.
Now for part two which is the lamb. I’ve cooked lamb twice before. Both times, I attempted to serve it to my family in an almost raw state. Like, not “rare” but hot off the press. Needless to say, nobody liked it. And lamb ain’t cheap, my friends. I may as well have not cooked it at all. I was determined to get it right this time. I also purchased my cut at Costco so as not to waste all my hard earned money. Boy oh boy, did I get my money’s worth.
This meal takes a long time and a bit of love, but it is worth it.
- Approximately 5 lbs. lamb shoulder or leg, boneless
- 1 cup red or white wine
- 2 cups bone broth or water
- 1/2 large onion
- 1 bunch celery
- 2-3 carrots
- 1 bunch fresh thyme (8-10 sprigs)
- 1 bunch fresh sage (8-10 leaves)
- 12 garlic cloves, whole
- salt and pepper to taste
- The night before, prepare the lamb. Take the cut of meat and season it liberally with salt and pepper. Slit holes throughout the cut and tuck away fresh thyme, sage, or other desired herbs. Rosemary would be a lovely addition. Do the same thing with 8-10 garlic cloves. Wrap in saran wrap and place in a plastic bag in the fridge overnight.
- When you’re ready to cook, let the lamb come to room temperature for about ten minutes. In the meantime, heat up some coconut oil in the dutch oven or a skillet.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Brown the lamb on all sides in a hot skillet. This should take 2-3 minutes per side for a total of 12 minutes or so.
- Take the lamb out of the Dutch oven or leave it in the skillet when you’re finished. In the Dutch oven, place 1 cup of red wine, 1-2 cups of bone broth, stock or water, an entire bunch of celery, 2-3 whole carrots, and 1/2 a large onion cut up into quarters, and the remaining cloves of garlic. You can also add more fresh herbs to the braise. This is where the flavour comes from.
- When your braise is prepared, add the lamb to the Dutch oven. Place in the oven and cover with a lid. Let it cook for 4 hours.
- When the lamb is done, cover the Dutch oven in tin foil for 10 minutes and rest the lamb.
- Remove the lamb and strain the juices into a skillet. Reduce for a lovely sauce. This is optional, but worthwhile to pour over the veggies you might serve this with.
- The tender meat will shred easily and melt in your mouth. Serve right away and reserve leftovers. To heat leftovers, simply bring to a light simmer on the stove in some bone broth or water.
We here at Primal Fitness Pittsburgh want to wish you all a happy, healthy, and tasty Easter holiday! Thanks for visiting our blog! Until next time. . .
Master your instincts!
Alexandra Barone (aka Alex) is a healthy living aficionado residing in the lovely city of Pittsburgh, PA. She writes about all things real food with a focus on the paleo diet. She is free to discuss your fitness goals and schedule you for a 1-on-1 consultation on site at the studio. Please feel free to email her with any questions regarding Primal Fitness Pittsburgh at firstname.lastname@example.org