Falling leaves, football games, cool mornings, aromas of slow cooked meat permeating the house….autumn is here! Time for rich and savory dishes and here’s a perfect savory recipe guaranteed to satisfy. This started as a version of a recipe for Osso Buco, which is a traditional Italian dish made with veal shank stewed in vegetables and wine, but ended up being a super savory dish made from our Fox Trot Farm Lamb Neck Steaks. We call them “steaks” because they are thick slices of tender meat with just the right amount of connective tissue and bone to transform into a velvety textured, richly flavored stew to serve over mashed potatoes, noodles, or homemade polenta, as I’ve done here. (We love the combination of flavors combined with the silky-smooth polenta!) This would be equally delicious made with our meaty Fox Trot Farm Lamb shanks!
Savory Slow Cooked Lamb in Wine and Vegetables
Cooking time: Oven braise*, 3 hours; Slow Cooker, 4-8 hours
2 pkgs. Fox Trot Farm Lamb Neck Steaks (about 1 1/4 lb. each), or 1 pkg. Fox Trot Farm Lamb Shanks
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 Tblsp. olive oil, or as needed
6 garlic cloves, minced, or 3 tsps. minced jarred garlic
2 medium onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cups dry red wine, such as a California red blend. (Tip: You don’t need to spend a bundle, but it should be something you enjoy drinking. You’ll have enough left in the bottle to serve with supper!)
1 can (15 oz.) whole tomatoes with juice, crushed with your hands. (Tip: Don’t use canned diced tomatoes because they will retain their shape and you want the tomatoes to cook down with the vegetables.)
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
3 (3-inch long) strips of orange zest (Tip: Don’t omit this; it really kicks this dish up a notch! Just take your vegetable peeler and peel off three strips of the orange skin from top to bottom. Peel the rest the same way and freeze for future dishes.)
2 tsps. dried oregano
2 tsps. dried parsley
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper flakes (or to your liking)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, or prepare slow cooker.
-In large Dutch Oven (or skillet, if planning to use slow cooker), heat 2 tblsps. olive oil over medium high heat till shimmering; add meat, which has been salted and peppered liberally. Allow to brown before flipping to the other side. This browning is important, so don’t hurry. Remove to a platter and set aside.
-Add more oil to pan if needed; deglaze the pan with a bit of the wine and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, oregano, and parsley together and sauté till the vegetables begin to soften.
-Add the rest of the wine and tomatoes, chicken stock and orange zest. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. If using a slow cooker, put the meat in the bottom of the crock and pour the vegetable mixture over. If using the Dutch oven, nestle the steaks down into the vegetable mixture.
-For oven braising: Cover Dutch oven and place in oven. Check after 2 hours and add a little water if needed to keep from drying out. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and braise for another hour.
-For slow cooking: Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8. I’ve noticed that the newer crockpots have higher heat than the older ones, so you may have to adjust your time according to your cooker.
-Meat should be falling-off-the-bone tender when finished. Serve over mashed potatoes, noodles, rice, polenta…whatever your favorite comfort food is!
-Serves 3-4 using Fox Trot Farm Lamb Neck Steaks, or 2 using Fox Trot Farm Lamb Shanks.
*Braising is simply a method of cooking with moist heat, such as in a covered pot simmering on the stove or in the oven. I like to braise meats in the oven because the heat surrounds the Dutch oven and prevents scorching on the bottom, which can happen easily when braising on the stove.