We are well and truly in the middle of winter. There’s no denying it. It’s getting increasingly harder to get myself out of bed early in the mornings for work, and the pep-talks I’m giving myself are getting longer… “Come on Laura, get up. If you get up now, you’ll have time to get yourself a coffee before work. A nice, large coffee. Piping hot, and the size of your head. Just GET UP. And…. now! Ok, NOW! Oh damn it, how was that five minutes already?!” Every. Damn. Day. Well, work day anyway. I am lucky that I only work 3-4 days a week, and that I get a couple of days during the week where getting out of bed before the sun isn’t on my agenda. I am incredibly grateful for these days. I occasionally spend these days catching up with friends that I don’t get to see very often, but for the most part, I really enjoy simply spending these days at home alone. I catch up on housework, I work on my blog, I answer emails that have accumulated through the week and I cook all the dishes I’ve been wanting to make without any need for rushing about. It’s my idea of bliss.
Last week Jared mentioned that we hadn’t pulled out the slow cooker in a while, and it inspired me to dust it off and start using it again. It’s the perfect season for slow cooking some heartier meals! Plus, the beauty of slow cooker meals is that they require minimal effort, they practically do most of the cooking themselves and they fill your house with delicious aromas in the process.
We had half a lamb leg in the freezer that my mumma had gifted us with weeks ago, so I defrosted that to use. We also had some speck in there from when I made slow cooker Pea and Ham Soup a few months ago. I got that out too, because why not, right? Speck can really only make a dish better!
I had plenty of winter veggie in our fridge too, so I got out some pumpkin, heirloom carrots and a couple of potatoes from our pantry to add to the dish.
To make it, all I did was brown the lamb leg on both sides, fried the speck for a couple of minutes until golden brown, popped them in the slow cooker with the chopped veggies, a couple of tins of whole, peeled Italian tomatoes, the last our homemade stock and some marjoram from our herb garden.
I then popped it on high for an hour, then turned it down to low for 4 hours. You can just cook the whole thing on low for 6-7 hours though if you won’t be home to adjust the temperature.
15 mins before it was done, I pulled out the lamb and cut the meat off the bone, diced it all and popped it all back into the slow cooker (without the bone) for the last 15 minutes to re-heat.
I then just served it on some brown rice and added some chopped homegrown parsley on top. It was so good! It was hearty, wholesome and really hit the spot on a cold winter’s night! And best of all, I basically had dinner done well before I even had my lunch and was able to get stuff done around the house while it cooked away! Oh, I should mention… the speck just melts in your mouth.
Hope you enjoy the recipe, and that it warms you up a little this winter!
- 1 tablespoon organic butter/coconut oil/olive oil
- Half a lamb leg, bone in (approximately 800g)
- 200g speck, diced
- 500g pumpkin, peeled and diced
- 4 heirloom carrots, roughly chopped*
- 2 potatoes, diced
- 2 400g tins of peeled, whole Italian tomatoes
- 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock (homemade preferably)
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh marjoram*
- Salt and pepper to season
- To serve: brown rice and chopped parsley (optional)
- Heat butter or oil in a pan.
- Season both sides of the lamb leg with salt and pepper.
- Brown each side of the lamb leg in pan (approximately 2 minutes on each side).
- Place lamb leg in a slow cooker.
- In the same pan, fry the speck for 2 minutes, or until it's nice and golden.
- Arrange speck and diced vegetables around the lamb.
- Pour over the tinned tomatoes and stock.
- Add salt, pepper and marjoram sprigs.
- Cook on high setting for one hour.
- Turn the lamb leg over and cook on low setting for a further 4 hours.
- Approximately 15 minutes before the 4 hour mark, remove the lamb leg and cut the meat off the bone.
- Dice this meat up and place back into the slow cooker for the remaining 15 minutes without the bone.
- Serve on brown rice and top with freshly chopped parsley.
- * If you don't have heirloom carrots, you can just replace with regular carrots.