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Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks

Ingredients

4 small onions approx 70g each

1 kg lamb shanks or other stewing meat

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 jar tomato passata / puree 1.5 cups

4 stalks rosemary optional

500 g frozen spinach or other greens

200 g roast almonds


Method

Get your spinach out of the freezer to defrost.

Peel and slice onions in half lengthwise. Then slice each half into thin half moons. Place onions and lamb shanks (or other meat) in your slow cooker insert. Drizzle with a little oil and scatter over 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Turn oven to 200C (400F) and put the slow cooker insert in the cold oven. Cook for 30 minutes or until shanks are starting to brown.

Carefully transfer the hot insert to the slow cooker. Add tomato passata and rosemary (if using). Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 11 hours or until meat is beautifully tender.

When you're ready to serve, squeeze spinach dry by placing in a sieve and pushing down with the back of a spoon. Discard the spinach juice. Stir spinach into the meat and leave on high to warm through for a few minutes. Taste and season with salt if needed.

Roughly chop almonds. Stir in most of the chopped almonds. Divide between 4 bowls and top with the remaining almonds.


Variations and substitutions

No slow cooker / short on time – cook in the oven covered will take 3-4 hours at 160C (320F).

Vegetarian – use diced eggplant or mushrooms – will cook much quicker. Dried chickpeas or beans can be cooked in the slow cooker.

Nightshade-free – use chicken stock instead of the passata. And throw in a few finely chopped anchovies to add extra umami. Or if you want sweeter canned apricot nectar is really delicious!

Cheesey – serve with lashings of finely grated parmesan or crumbled feta.

Different flavourings – bay leaves or thyme will work instead of the rosemary. Or use some spice. 2-3 teaspoons of curry powder, ground cumin, or smoked paprika. Or use 1 teaspoon each cumin, coriander and smoked paprika. 1/2 teaspoon all spice makes for a lovely exotic flavour.

More substantial (carb lovers) – serve with cooked pasta, steamed rice or mashed potato. Canned chickpeas or beans can be added at the end and aren’t quite as carby as the other options.

More substantial (low carb) – serve with cauliflower mash, cauliflower colcannon, extra almonds, avocado, walnuts, feta, parmesan or almond pasta.

Different vegetables / more veg – I often add carrots and celery finely diced so they cook at the same time. Feel free to add any veg you feel inspired by. Fresh greens will work – just add at the end and allow extra time for them to wilt down.

Different protein – any meat that works well slow cooked is great. For example osso buco, beef short ribs, lamb shoulder, pork shoulder.


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