Mixing Field with Ocean
I used to be afraid of anchovies. They tasted of fish. Fishy fish. I shied away from them for years (I’ve talked about the hideous pizza experience in my courgette flowers post), until I was served up a risotto (pre-paleo) at a friends house and she proudly announced the sauce contained anchovies. Crap. I really couldn’t be rude I would have to eat it – even if I had to wince my way through the meal. Turns out the anchovies gave the risotto a certain je ne sais quoi – a wonderful aroma and salty taste. Anchovies were now officially no longer my enemy. I have since enjoyed many a Salsa Verdi.
Lamb and Anchovies are a classic combination. I’m not sure who decided to mix a little fish from the ocean with a fluffy sheep from a field – but they were an absolute genius. Paired with a zesty freshness from the lemon plus some other classic lamb marinades ingredients in the shape of garlic and rosemary, this is one cracking combo. Not my genius idea I hasten to add – a marinade like this is written in just about every cookbook ever written. But this is my interpretation & cooked in my own slow cooker. I own this version!
After 8 hours in the slow cooker, the lamb shoulder was beautifully tender and just fell off the bone. And the onions – wow the onions… Rather than pull the meat to shreds as I did with my Spiced Lamb, I left the meat in chunks to serve up. I served this alongside two simple sides since the meat doesn’t require a complicated accompaniment – roasted courgettes in avocado oil with torn basil plus a rocket & parmesan salad drizzled with balsamic.
Another great slow cooker dish to serve up for a group of visiting friends after a freezing cold winter day out playing at Mudchute City Farm (yes – I took a group of 30yr olds to the farm).
Ingredients (serves 5-6)
- 2kg/4.5 lb lamb shoulder – chopped into two by my butcher so it would all fit in my 6.5Ltr slow cooker.
- 50g tin anchovy fillets in their olive oil
- Zest of 1 lemon (slivers as in pic)
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthwise (take out the green root from the centre if you can – it is what is responsible for stinky garlic breath and can be somewhat difficult to digest)
- 1 bunch of rosemary, torn into sprigs
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsps balsamic vinegar
- 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
- 300ml home made beef bone stock
- 2 red onions, peeled and quatered
- extra garlic
- Throw the garlic, anchovies, lemon zest, rosemary, black pepper, balsamic vinegar into a mini chopper. Use the oil from the anchovy tin, and extra from a bottle to make up the 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil required.
- Blend to paste. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil if too thick.
- Slash the top of the lamb with a knife and rub in the marinade with your hand.
- Cover and leave in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight).
- Put the onions in the bottom of slow cooker, place the lamb on top, and poke an extra few cloves of peeled but not cut garlic into the slashes in the lamb flesh.
- Add the stock and cook on low for 8 hrs.
- When ready, remove the meat from the slow cooker. If the meat has too much fat on it you may at this stage want to slice off and discard. Pull into chunks and pile up on a serving plate, topping with the softened onions from the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Optional: You could reduce the cooking juices in a saucepan and serve as a gravy. My meat was so tender & moist we didn’t need it.