Disclosure: I was asked by Mountain States Rosen (MSR) to participate in their consumer campaign that includes a Fall partnership with Harris Teeter. I was compensated for my time. Mountain States Rosen is also providing me with a Harris Teeter gift card to give away to two of my readers. Opinions are my own.
Book Clubs are all about experiencing new discoveries with comfortable friends. Though the book pick is the focus of the group exploration, the food should be just as adventuresome and easy–even stirring up some conversation!
A stylish menu that’s simple to prepare is the key to hosting any dinner party. Satisfy your friends, family and even your upcoming book club members with this home-cooked meal that’s impressive, comforting and easy on you: a slow-cooked Mediterranean lamb. Now I know what you’re thinking, lamb for a group is too expensive. But this depends largely on the cut. Today, I want to show you how you can serve a budget friendly, simple prep, gourmet meal made with American lamb. This recipe takes a less expensive cut (shoulder) and transforms it into a dish fit for royalty. Trust me, if you have any trepidation that may come from lack of experience in cooking lamb, slow cooking will ease your mind. You can add the meat to the slow-cooker and leave it unattended for hours.
It’s only been in the past month that I happily realized my local Harris Teeter is now carrying Cedar Springs lamb. There are so many reasons to feel good about purchasing this product.
First of all, fresh Cedar Springs lamb is homegrown, raised according to the highest standards, on a 100% high-nutrient, vegetarian diet and free of artificial ingredients and additives. The multi-generational family ranchers raise animals humanely, promote sustainable agriculture and preserve green open spaces for future generations.
If you buy lamb from Australia or New Zealand, it’s time to ask yourself, why am I buying lamb that’s been shipped 10,000 miles? When I purchase this American lamb I know I am getting the safest, highest quality lamb. Once you taste its mild, juicy flavor, it won’t come as a surprise that Mountain States Rosen is the only U.S. lamb and veal company to achieve the highest level of safety and quality certification-SQF Level 3 – from the global audit firm, the Safe Quality Food Institute.
Finally, as a registered dietitian, it’s important to recognize the good-for-you aspects of Cedar Springs Lamb. It is rich in protein, nutrients (including vitamin B12, niacin, zinc, selenium, iron and riboflavin) and healthier fats. If you’re like me, perhaps you consume fish for its omega 3 health benefits. Maybe you’ll be surprised to learn that lamb has over 5 1/2 times more omega 3 than America’s most popular fish, tilapia. And according to the USDA, a 3-ounce portion of lamb has more than 5 times the amount of omega 3 than the same portion of beef.
I hope you will check out my recipe below to discover that cooking an extraordinary meal for a group doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. While you’re busy doing last minute details for your get-together, the slow-cooking lamb will impart an irresistible aroma and deliver falling-off -the-bone tenderness–keeping the conversation going long after the book’s exciting conclusion is discussed.
MSR is giving away a gift card to two of my readers, so enter below and you may have part of this adventurous meal paid for. Just let me know, in the comments section, what you enjoyed learning most about lamb today. Because I’m pretty sure you’ll fall in love with American lamb after trying my recipe, I invite you to also enter for a chance to win a Dutch oven (widget on side bar ). This cooking vessel will give you an alternative preparation method for mouthwatering lamb. Be sure to check out mountainstatesrosen.com for more recipes, information on MSR, cooking and handling.
Harris Teeter Gift Card Contest ends midnight on Nov. 12, 2014. Must be a U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter.
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Slow-cooked American Lamb with Jammy Red Wine and Fruit (serves 8)
(adapted from Food & Wine’s Zinfandel-Braised Lamb Chops with Dried Fruit)
- 3 to 3 1/2 pound Cedar Springs or Shepherd’s Pride American Lamb shoulder roast (may substitute six 8-ounce Cedar Springs or Shepherd’s Pride American Lamb shoulder chops)
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 8 garlic cloves, halved
- 10 thyme sprigs, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup big, jammy red wine, such as American Zinfandel, Grenache or cabernet franc
- 1/2 cup dried cherries (3 ounces)
- 1/2 cups dried California apricots (3 ounces) quartered
- 1 cup low sodium beef broth
1. Season lamb with salt, pepper and coriander. Insert garlic clove halves into roast. Place in the bottom of a seven quart slow-cooker.
2. In a sauce pan, add red wine, dried cherries, and dried apricots and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil.
3.Pour red wine sauce over the top of lamb. Place lid on the slow-cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
4. When the lamb is tender, remove from slow cooker. Allow to cool. Discard garlic. Remove meat from bone and place it into a soup tureen or pretty ceramic dish of your choice. Set aside.
5. Pour the liquid left in the slow cooker into a saucepan, add fresh thyme and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes to intensify the flavors. Discard thyme.
6. Pour the wine sauce over lamb and garnish with fresh thyme.
Serve with steamed couscous.