Ramadan is coming to a close soon and I’m looking to cut down on time preparing meals even more. The only problem is that I think I’m over quick-to-prepare grilled meats and vegetables that we typically turn to during the summer months. I’m not yet sick of salad yet — never salad.
I’m starting to crave the “stick-to-your-ribs” type foods I’m used to having during Ramadan: slow cooked roasts, rich curries and other elaborately prepared dishes. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with this except the fact that I don’t want to be sweating over a pot all day. Or really, fall into a food coma after breaking my fast.
Instead, I’m embracing the slow cooker in these last days to free up my time. This recipe for Slow Cooker Lamb Fricassee is amazing because it is satisfying but also feels light and fresh because of the herbs and lemon. It takes about 10-15 minutes of hands-on time to pull together and 5 minutes towards serving time. The best part is that it makes a huge amount of tender, fall-of-the-bone meat so you don’t have to cook the next day.
This lamb fricassee is different than what people think of when they hear of the dish. This fricassee is a Greek dish that varies from the popular French version. It is made with lamb (typically shoulder cut) instead of chicken, uses different aromatics and is made with an irresistible egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono) opposed to a white sauce. It also has an interesting green ingredient in there: lettuce.
When I was first introduced to this dish I was appalled by the idea of slow cooking a head of lettuce. After I got over my reservations I was pleasantly surprised with the results, especially when I deviated from the traditional method of adding the lettuce at the beginning of the braising process. The lettuce stems had a pleasant tender bite to it. If you’re weirded out by cooking lettuce, you can use two bunches of swiss chard instead.
I realize making fricassee in a slow cooker is sacrilegious but it could be worse. Did you know Pinterest is overflowing with recipes for slow cooker hot chocolate and lasagna? See — you already feel better about it.
If you really want you can make this in a pot on the stove. It’s really not hard at all and requires all the steps to be done in succession at the beginning except the avgolemono and three times as much water. Set it on medium-low for an hour and a half and you’re good.
See you tomorrow with another post!
Slow Cooker Lamb Fricassee
- 3 pounds lamb shank OR shoulder, cut into pieces
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 bunches green onion, roughly chopped (about 10-12)
- 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup avocado oil or ghee
- 1 ½ cups water
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh dill, chopped finely
- 1 large head of romaine lettuce, chopped into 1-inch thick strips
- Juice of two lemons (about ½ a cup)
- 2 eggs, separated
In a large pot heat oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry from 2-3 minutes until they start to become translucent.
Add the lamb to the pot (here I added the green onions by mistake – don’t do this! It makes it harder to brown the meat) and fry for 5-7 minutes until the meat starts to brown.
Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and add garlic and green onions. Fry for 2 more minutes.
Transfer the contents of the pot into a slow cooker with the water, close the lid and set it for 5 hours on high or 10 hours on low.
In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the chopped lettuce and fresh dill.
After five minutes gently submerge the greens into the broth.
Right before serving make the avgolemono. In a medium sized mixing bowl beat egg white until light and frothy and soft peaks are forming.
Add the lemon juice and egg yolks and whisk well.
Reserve about 1-2 cups of hot liquid from the slow cooker to temper the eggs. Slowly ladle the hot liquid into the mixing bowl while vigorously whisking.
The end result should still be a very frothy liquid.
Pour the avgolemono into the slow cooker and slowly shake or gently stir it into the rest of the broth.
Serve topped with fresh dill and freshly ground black pepper.