Tag Archives: crock pot

Recipe: Crock Pot Red Wine & Garlic Braised Lamb Shanks

5 Mar

Oh lamb. You’re so cute and so delicious. For those of you who think eating the fuzzy little critters is evil, please stop reading now. For those of you who are salivating, please read on.

This is my ‘go to’ for gourmet when you don’t have time for gourmet. Unlike most crock pot recipes that call for ‘fake’ ingredients (like canned soup or velveeta), this one is pretty much all natural and the results are impressive enough for company. The best part is whether you make it ahead or all in the same day, it really only takes two 15 minute intervals of effort. It’s a great option for a weeknight dinner party or a ‘dine-in’ date night. You’ll even have half a bottle of red wine left over to enjoy with it.

Crock Pot Red Wine & Garlic Braised Lamb Shanks

Crockpot Lamb Shanks | baconavecbacon.com

3-4 lamb shanks, defrosted
1 onion, quartered
10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
olive oil
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 packet of pot roast spice (you’ll find this in the spice mix aisle)
1 packet of beef base
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf

In a frying pan, heat a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. Season the shanks well with the salt, pepper and Worcestershire and then sear well on all sides. Dump the remaining ingredients  the bottom of the crock pot and stir. (If you want to be fancy, you can deglaze the bottom of the frying pan with the wine.) Add the seared meat and then add water to the top of the shanks. Cook on low for 8 hours.

If you’d like, you can refrigerate the shanks (in the crock) overnight and skim the fat before reheating. If you’re going to eat them immediately, ladle two cups of the broth into a measuring cup and let the fat settle to the top. Pour the fat off carefully and then place into a small saucepan with 1 packet of beef base and some freshly ground pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and then whisk in a slurry of a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch and water. This will form a rich gravy to serve with your lamb.

I like to serve the shanks on a bed of mashed potatoes. All the better to enjoy the gravy with.

Recipe: Homestyle Chili

27 Aug

Even though it’s still summer, at this time of year I start looking forward to the great things about fall: cozy sweaters, falling leaves and hearty meals bubbling in a cast iron pot. And when you’ve got 2 pounds of ground beef hanging around in the freezer looking to be used, it’s hard not to think of chili.

Growing up, my parents had dueling chili recipes. Both had their merits but I think I have to give the upper hand to dad (sorry mom!) This one differs a bit from dad’s in that it’s missing a can of tinned sliced mushrooms (Mr. Bacon is not a fan) but it’s very similar. Enjoy it by itself or even better, on top of a hot dog. MMM.

Homestyle Chili

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 cans red kidney beans
1 medium onion, diced finely
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 heaping tablespoons chili powder
2 heaping tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
salt, pepper & sugar to taste
1 bay leaf
olive or vegetable oil

Get yourself a big heavy bottomed pot (like this cast iron one). On medium high heat, soften the onion and bell pepper with a couple of tablespoons of oil and some salt and pepper. The salt helps the water cook out of the vegetables. When the onions are almost translucent, add the garlic and cook for a minute or two until it gets fragrant.

Add the ground beef and cook it until it’s brown. You might want to drain some of the oil off at this point, but if you use lean beef it may not be necessary.

Throw in the spices, stir and cook for another minute or two to release the flavours. Then add the tomatoes, paste, and beans and stir being careful not to break up the beans too much. Throw in the bay leaf.

Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for at least an hour but two or slightly more is preferable. Most of the way through, give it a taste and adjust the seasoning, including adding a tablespoon of sugar or so to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Alternatively, you can brown everything in a frying pan and add the rest into a slow cooker to bubble away on low for about 8 hours.

Top with some sour cream or shredded cheese (or both) and a side of crusty bread or toast.