One of the biggest recipe searches on my personal blog, Dinner with Julie, is for leg of lamb done in the slow cooker. Lamb becomes even more popular in the spring, and while a leg of lamb, particularly with the shank end still attached, can be tricky to cook evenly, a slow cooker makes it easy.
Start with a bone-in leg of lamb – a boneless rolled leg of lamb is more uniform, perfect for roasting on its own in the oven – but a bone-in leg of lamb will stay more moist in the slow cooker. If it has the shank end still attached (that is, if it tapers down to a bone on one end) it may stick out, even if you have a large oval 6 qt slow cooker – I’ve had success with covering the whole thing tightly with foil, although the manufacturer may advise against it.
Rub it down with a paste made of garlic, chopped fresh rosemary, olive oil and salt – let it sit on the countertop for half an hour, which will allow the meat to absorb the flavours.
Get a heavy skillet nice and hot, add a drizzle of oil and brown the meat on all sides before putting it into the slow cooker – if you create any browned bits in the pan, you can pour your liquid in to loosen them. You want that flavour in your dish, not left in the pan! When it’s done, you’ll be able to pull it apart with two forks.
Ta da! Happy Spring!
Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker with Garlic and Rosemary
olive or canola oil, for cooking
1 bone-in leg of lamb
4-5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into chunks
1 head garlic, peeled
a few sprigs of rosemary
1 cup red wine or stock
Rub the oil all over the lamb and either brown it in a hot pan or throw it on the grill to get some colour. Meanwhile, toss all the potatoes and about half the garlic cloves into the bottom of your slow cooker.
Put the lamb on top of the potatoes, squish a few more cloves of garlic and rub it over the surface, then sprinkle with salt. Toss in a few sprigs of rosemary and pour some wine in around the potatoes, cover (if the bone sticks out, cover the lid with foil to seal in the heat) and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Carve the lamb and serve with the potatoes, finished with a squeeze of lemon, if you like. Serves 6-10.