Nigella’s slow cooker Greek lamb stew in white wine recipe
I have a confession to make. Lamb shanks really annoy me. They cook beautifully in the slow cooker but they’re a kind of nouveau-riche meat. They used to be a tasty but cheap cut, savoured by the savvy cook in the know and scorned by those in the money. Then the gastropubs got hold of them and it was downhill all the way from there. Sigh!
However, when a pair of friendly-looking lamb shanks (it’s not their fault after all) turned up on the reduced shelf at Sainsbury’s, I had to have them. I was going to cook them quite traditionally in red wine but we had a half bottle of white going begging and I remembered a fantastic lamb recipe I’d last cooked a few years ago which I thought might work a treat in the slow cooker. And so I give you “Nigella’s slow cooker Greek lamb stew in white wine recipe”. It’s a beaut (and very easy!).
Thank you Nigella – yet again! This one’s adapted from my well-thumbed copy of How To Eat. Just, shhhh, don’t tell Nigella!
Ingredients for 4:
2 tbsps olive oil
2 lamb shanks
250g onions (about 1 1/2 cups), finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped finely
leaves from 1-2 sprigs thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 small carrot, chopped into pennies
1 400g/14 oz tin of chopped tomatoes
100 ml (or 1/3 cup + 1tbsp) lamb stock or water
1/3 bottle (i.e. 250 ml or 1 cup) dry white wine
500g/ 1lb fusilli or macaroni
fresh parsley, oregano or basil to garnish
Pre-brown the lamb shanks in a frying pan or skillet using the olive oil. Put the lamb and all other ingredients down to the wine into the slow cooker. Cook on Low for 8-10 Hours or High for 4-5.
About half an hour before you want to eat, turn the slow cooker to High if it isn’t already. Cook your pasta in a separate pan of water until a couple of minutes before you would normally drain it. We’re talking just before al dente – you know the stage where you persuade yourself that it’s just about edible if you’re ravenous but you risk getting tummy ache later because the starch is still slightly undercooked? That’s where you want it because we want the lamb juices to have some scope to soak into the pasta. Drain your pasta well and quickly add it to the lamb stew, giving it a vigorous stir and immediately replacing the lid.
About 5-10 minutes later, check your pasta for doneness. Ours took about 10 minutes. Once your pasta is cooked to your liking, remove the lamb shanks to a plate. The meat will fall off the bones easily. Break or cut rather than shred the meat into bite-size morsels and return to the stew and pasta mix. Stir in the fresh herbs and serve.
Nigella puts a bowl of 300g/ 1 cup crumbled feta on the table for diners to add to their bowls but we just didn’t fancy it that particular day.
Serve with a good, green salad.
Wow, this was tasty and our guest that night really appreciated it. Lamb cooked in white wine tastes lighter and sweeter than when cooked in red. I felt it allowed the flavour of the meat to shine out more. The herbs, both fresh and dried, were a summery addition to a winter-hearty dish and the pasta soaked in all the lovely lamby juices. The last time I cooked this I served it in the garden in July but it was just as perfect in March. I think lamb shanks may be forgiven!