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Lamb Stew with Cauliflower

2 pounds boneless lamb, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 medium onions, chopped
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. chopped parsley
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
16 ounce can tomato paste
1 cup white wine

Combine all ingredients in cooker. Cook on high for 5-6 hours.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Some general comments about this recipe:

Cauliflower: A typical cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds/680 grams more-or-less) when served as a side vegetable will feed three to four people. I've had good results with cauliflower in a slow cooker, but only when I cut them up into bite-sized pieces. For some reason, large pieces seem to turn out harder than the 'crispy' that I was looking for, bite sized ones seem to be perfect, but then I rarely cook more than two servings in one of my smaller slow cookers (1 1/2 quarts) because only two of us like it. Might be the slow cooker. But don't have them frequently enough to seriously confirm, but anything larger than a 1 1/2 quart has not turned out for me. Bite-sized works in stews and watery stuff, but I've grown tired of listening to the complaining when I do, so I rarely do stews with cauliflower.

Parsley: Curley leaf parsley is widely used as a garnish. (That's the green leafy stuff that you move to the side so you can start eating.) It's actually used in a number of mixtures. It's supposed to be good for you to eat the stuff (well, except for pregnant women). I like it as a shake on to things like baked potato or in mashed potato, but not enough to eat it in dishes like taboulleh. If you don't have any parsley (fresh is much better, apparently), you can substitute chervil or cilantro.

Tomato Paste: A thick paste that is made by cooking tomatoes for several hours to boil off the moisture, then straining the tomatoes to remove skin and seeds, then cooking it again to further boil off the moisture, and this gives you a rich, thick concentrate. In the UK it is called puree or concentrate. My experience with it is that it is mostly sold in small, thin cans. To substitute if you don't have any on hand: for every tablespoon of tomato paste you need, use 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce. Reduce liquid in your recipe by 2 to 3 tablespoons. My book also notes that you can take tomato puree and boil it until it is reduced to 1 tablespoon, but I think that's a lot of effort.

White Wine: I don't often use wine when I'm using my slow cooker. Probably just some sort of subliminal thing going on here. But if you have it, it will make your recipe taste different than not using it. You decide. If you don't have any white wine on hand, then you have a number of choices: 1) 1 cup of chicken or beef broth for every cup of wine needed. 2) 1 cup of fruit juice with 2 teaspoons of vinegar added for every cup of wine needed. 3) 1 cup of water. I wouldn't substitute red wine for white wine (or vice-versa) for any number of reasons.

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