This is a warm and cozy dish for a chilly evening. Instead of simmering on the stove, you could use a slow cooker. The cinnamon and cardamom flavors are subtle, but delicious. Your entire house will smell wonderful after simmering the lamb.
The recipe I used for inspiration is from Souvlaki for the Soul.
To make two servings, you will need:
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Approx 1/2 lb of lamb meat (I used a leg shank)
- 2 leeks (trimmed to the light green & white parts) OR 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 can of diced tomatoes (don’t drain)
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes
- 3 cinnamon sticks (if you can’t find cinnamon sticks, use 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon.)
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (or 1 whole pod if you have it)
- 1c low-sodium chicken stock (plus more to keep the braising mixture wet)
- 1/4c red wine
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- salt to taste (pay attention to the salt content of the canned tomatoes, and taste the sauce before you add too much salt)
- 1/4c grated Asiago cheese
- 2c cooked pasta (I used fettucine noodles)
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a medium saute pan. Once it’s hot, add the lamb meat and brown on all sides (about 6-8 minutes).
While the lamb is browning, chop up the leeks (if you haven’t already). Trim them liberally, and peel off the outer layers.
Side note: I also wanted to add some celery and carrots here, but was out. I kept on trucking, though, because I didn’t want to make a trip to the grocery store.
Once the lamb is browned, remove it to a plate and set aside. Add the garlic leeks to the pan (and more oil, if necessary). Saute over medium for about 5 minutes, or until soft.
Add the canned tomatoes, stock, wine cinnamon sticks, cardamom, bay leaves, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer on low.
Add the meat back to the pan. Simmer like this, covered, over low for 2-3 hours, or until the meat literally falls apart. If too much liquid evaporates, add more stock or water to the pan.
Once the meat is tender enough, remove any bones and pull the meat apart into small pieces. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves, and stir with the sauce.
Slow Cooker note: At this point, you could add everything to a slow cooker over high for (estimated) 2-3 hours or low for (estimated) 4-6 hours. Those times are approximations, as I have not actually tried this dish in a slow cooker. Just let it go until the meat falls apart.
Serve over the cooked pasta, and sprinkle with the grated Asiago cheese. Enjoy!