Monday, August 30, 2010

Turkish Lamb and Vegetable Stew

I stay pretty busy. Six days of the week, I do countless loads of laundry, feed our family, pick kids up at schools, keep our house semi-clean, do errands, and the list goes on and on. I am sure your list seems endless sometimes too. Whose doesn't? Needless to say, I am trying to carve out one day a week where I stop a little and take a nap/read/write (just for me--not for any blog), putting aside my mile long to do list for the day. One way I accomplish this without racking up huge eating out bills is to get out the slow cooker. I turn it on the morning, wash all the dishes and then am done for the day in the kitchen. The challenge is finding slow cooker recipes I like that don't turn into a "open up a can" fest. I want recipes that match our summer season and use some of the produce have around.

I found this recipe and was excited. It used eggplant and zucchini (not your normal slow cooker ingredients) in addition to potatoes. All three things I got in my CSA box and had languishing in my crisper (well, not the potatoes).

We all enjoyed it. My only complaint was the amount of work that went into it. I prefer my slow cooker recipes to need not a lot of prep work, but this one took a little longer with browning the lamb and sauteing onions. It also was a shorter cook time than some. However, we had no problem polishing off the leftovers throughout the week, not that we had a large amount of leftovers. It was a hit with all of us. This would be good served with rice or another grain like couscous. If you don't like the gamey lamb flavor, either substitute another stew meat or roast or trim the fat off of the lamb very well.

This makes 6 - 8 servings.

Turkish Lamb and Vegetable Stew
from Eating Well Magazine

1 1/2 lbs boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into 1 1/4" pieces (or other stew meat/roast)
1 1/4 t salt
black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 lg onions, thinly slices
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t dried oregano
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 lg potato (or 3 -4 small ones, in my case), sliced 3/8" thick
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and snapped into 1 - 2" pieces (frozen green beans work fine)
1 sm eggplant, sliced 3/8" thick
1 med zucchini or summer squash, sliced 3/8" thick
6 bay leaves
3 T fresh parsley, chopped

Season lamb with 1/4 t salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1/2 T olive oil in lg skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the lamb and brown, 2 - 4 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Set aside and repeat with remaining lamb, adding another 1/2 T olive oil to skillet. Add to slow cooker (and all accumulated juices). Add remaining 1/2 T oil to skillet and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and cook until softened, 3 - 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and oregano and cook for an additional minute. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer, mashing with a potato masher or fork. Remove from heat.

Spoon half of tomato mixture over lamb. Arrange potatoes over top, followed by green beans, eggplant, and zucchini, seasoning each layer with a little salt and pepper. Spread remaining tomato mixture over top of vegetables. Top with bay leaves. Cover and cook on high about 4 hours or until lamb and vegetables are very tender. Discard bay leaves and serve hot, garnished with parsley.

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