For me, a house filled with the smell of food cooking, feels like a home. It’s one of the first things I wanted to do after we moved in to our new place the other week – a house with walls this time, not wheels – get something in to the oven and allow the comforting smell of a home-cooked meal to fill the rooms. That smell signals nourishment, an extension of my love for the people I feed and it makes me feel calm. Calm knowing that, with this meal, they are taken care of. Comfort, nourishment and calm, I couldn’t think of anything we need more right now, and for me that meant shutting the world out and putting my Slow Cooked Lamb & Lentils in the oven.

We try to eat meat only a couple of times a week, but I just can’t resist slow-cooked lamb. I’ve suggested lamb shoulder here because it’s an economical cut of meat that needs long slow heat and moisture to tenderise, so see if you can invest further in sourcing pasture-fed and organic too (this recipe will serve 8 big people).

To extend the dish a little and also soak up all those delicious cooking juices, I add lentils. Do properly prepare your own lentils, if you can – and by this, I mean soak them overnight in water (this will not only reduce their cooking time, but also the amount of phytates or “anti-nutrients” they contain – these are what block the absorption of important nutrients like iron, zinc and calcium – making it easier for little tummies to digest), rinse well and and then boil. My favourite are the French green or Puy lentils – they’re dark green in colour, smaller in size than brown lentils, have a nutty earthy taste and hold their shape well. As lovely as they are, I do find myself reaching for the tinned variety more often than not with this recipe, and they work just as well, so that’s what I’ve included in the recipe.

With tender meat, soft carrots and juicy lentils, it makes a great BLW dish that’s wonderfully high in all-important iron too, thanks to the lamb, lentils and parsley. It’s also one of those set-and-forget meals – no sauteing or browning required, it all goes in the pot and in to the oven for hours. Oh and I know it might just look like a garnish, but do find a big handful of chopped fresh parsley to throw in at the end if you can, it adds such a lovely freshness of flavour. We eat this with roast veggies, mashed veggies or pasta and it goes beautifully with a side of crunchy steamed green beans too.

Slow Cooked Lamb & Lentils

Serves: 8 – Prep-time: 15-mins – Cook-time: 4-hours

Ingredients:

1.5 – 2 kg lamb shoulder (bone in)
1x 400g can organic diced tomatoes *preferably BPA free
3 large carrots, cut in to 3cm batons
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses (or replace with balsamic vinegar)
1 brown onion, diced
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
500ml bone broth
2x 400g cans brown lentils
Sea salt & pepper
Optional: Handful of chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 180’C.
2. Peel garlic cloves and slice in half, then stud throughout the fleshy parts of the lamb.
3. In a heavy-based oven pot with a lid (I use a 24cm La Creuset), place the onion, tinned tomatoes, dried herbs and carrots, then nestle the lamb in the middle of everything.
4. Pour the pomegranate molasses and broth over the lamb. Season with salt and pepper and pop the lid on.
5. Cook for 2-hours, then remove from the oven and carefully turn the lamb over – you might need to add another cup of stock at this stage if the sauce is starting to dry out. Pop back in the oven for another 1.5-hours.
6. After 1.5-hours, remove from the oven and scatter the lentils around the outside of the lamb, making sure then get covered in the cooking juices, then pop back in the oven for another 1/2-hour.
7. Once the lamb has finished cooking for a total of 4-hours, remove it from the pot and shred the meat from the bone – it should be falling off by this time. Return all the meat back to the pot and discard the bone and any gristle.
8. Mix everything together and top with fresh parsley.

Happy Cooking!
Lucy x

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