Tag Archives: weeknight dinner

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

My love for lamb has grown steadily over the years to the point where I prefer lamb over a beef burger. Lamb meat has an earthier, more complex flavour than beef. I find that it tends to be juicier and bonus: way more health benefits. From Shepherd’s Pie to lasagna, I post a lot about this gamey protein. Surprisingly, I haven’t posted tacos, and you know how much I love Taco Tuesday! So I decided that for St. Patrick’s Day, I would make some special Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos, just for you.

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

St. Patrick’s Day is bittersweet for me. I never got into the festivities when I was at university because I didn’t live in residence and missed out campus life. It wasn’t until I met my half Irish ex-husband that I started celebrating this day. Our first date was at an Irish pub on St. Paddy’s so whenever I see drunken folk clad in green, it reminds me of him. Not in a bad way, but in a no-regrets-fond-memories kind of way.

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

This taco recipe is based on my Slow Cooked Lamb recipe that features my latest food find: lamb from Costco.

Gotta love $35 for a leg of lamb!

The only change I made to my original recipe is I swapped the wine and beef broth for, you guessed it – beer! I covered the lamb with a whole can of Guinness, because on St. Paddy’s no beer can go to waste. How I love to cook with booze! The strong Irish stout cuts through the fatty lamb and adds a whole level of richness to the meat. The result? Tender fall-apart lamb infused with hints of espresso and caramel. Oh yeah baby, tonight is your lucky taco night!

I loaded this taco with a wallop of fresh guacamole, arugula, caramelized onions and banana peppers and topped the lamb with organic salsa, feta cheese and my favourite hot sauce.

Half a lamb leg still makes a ton of meat. We had enough taco meat for four people, and I turned the remaining lamb and root vegetables into a ragu.  An endless supply of lamb is always a good thing!

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos
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Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with these Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos! Fresh corn tortillas are packed with tender lamb, fresh guacamole and arugula, grilled banana peppers, caramelized onions and topped with feta cheese and organic salsa. May the spirit of the Irish live on through these deliciously rich tacos!
Course Events and Holidays, Healthy, Main Dish, Poultry, Slow Cooker
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

For the lamb

  • 3 pounds leg of lamb approx half a leg
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and trimmed
  • half a lemon zested
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 pounds root vegetables ie. squash, carrots, parsnips
  • 1 500ml can Guinness beer

For the tacos

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled, trimmed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil plus more for greasing
  • half a lemon quartered
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 banana peppers trimmed, seeds removed and sliced
  • 2 medium yellow onions trimmed, peeled and sliced
  • 16 fresh corn tortillas
  • 2 cups arugula roughly chopped
  • 170 grams feta cheese crumbled
  • half cup organic salsa
  • your favourite hot sauce

Instructions

For the lamb

  1. Heat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat.
  2. Rub lamb with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Using tongs, sear each side for 30 seconds. Remove lamb and place on plastic cutting board.
  3. In a food processor, combine garlic, lemon zest, remaining tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, mint and rosemary. Process and spread paste over lamb, making sure to get into all the little crevices.
  4. Place lamb over top of root vegetables in slow cooker and pour beer over top.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours, then for 1 hour on low.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, lamb from slow cooker and pull large chunks apart using a carving fork. reserve root vegetables for later use.

For the tacos

  1. Combine avocados, garlic, olive oil and juice from two lemon wedges. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grease cast iron pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Saute banana peppers and onions until lightly browned, approx 5 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, place tortillas on a plate and wrap in syran wrap. Heat in microwave for 1 minute.
  4. Top corn tortilla with guacamole, arugula, lamb, peppers and onions. Sprinkle feta cheese, lemon and a tablespoon of salsa over top. Add hot sauce to taste.

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

So if you’re feeling the spirit of the Irish, throw some beer in your slow cooker and honour St. Patrick with these awesome tacos!

What food do you make to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  Did you like the addition of beer to these Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos?

How To Make Slow Cooked Lamb

How To Make Slow Cooked Lamb

How To Make Slow Cooked Lamb

It’s happened to all of us.  You wake up bright and earlier with every intention of prepping your slow cooker but you get wrapped up in a blog post.  Or grooming your cats.  Or a really good zombie flick.  Before you know it, there’s only 5 hours until dinner.  Yikes!  Not to worry, you can still achieve tender, juicy lamb!  This post is all about showing you how to make slow cooked lamb in your crock pot in under 6 hours.  How awesome is that?

How To Make Slow Cooked Lamb - Lamb Ragu over Quinoa Pasta

How To Make Slow Cooked Lamb – Lamb Ragu over Quinoa Pasta

I’ve recently started to buy boneless lamb leg from Costco.  One $35 leg makes about 16 servings, a really good deal!  What I do is divide the leg in two and freeze the other half.  I tend to slow cook the first portion and grind up the second portion for burgers or my Lamb Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping.

The first time I made lamb in the slow cooker I had it on low for 3 hours and 1 hour on high and the leg came out flavourful and juicy.  For the second half of the leg, I reversed the process and cooked the lamb for 4 hours on high and 1 hour on low and the result was very different.  The leg fell apart into tender strands and chunks, and my mouth watered as I pulled the meat apart.  I added different root vegetables each time, they add to the earthy flavour and are nice and soft after being cooked in lamb juice.  Squash, potatoes, parsnips –  you can’t go wrong!  

How To Make Slow Cooked Lamb - Lamb Taco braised in Guinness with grilled banana peppers and feta cheese

How To Make Slow Cooked Lamb – Lamb Taco braised in Guinness with grilled banana peppers and feta cheese

How To Make Slow Cooked Lamb - Lamb taco with peach salsa, guacamole and hot banana peppers & onions

How To Make Slow Cooked Lamb – Lamb taco with peach salsa, guacamole and hot banana peppers & onions

The possibilities are endless!  Change up your tacos by adding pulled lamb and top with mango salsa or feta cheese.  For an awesome ragu sauce, blend the remaining vegetables with some canned tomatoes and add the leftover lamb.  

How To Make Slow Cooked Lamb

51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

How To Make Slow Cooked Lamb

Ingredients

  • Boneless leg of lamb (depending on the size of your slow cooker) approx 3 pounds
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, trimmed and peeled
  • zest from half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoon fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 pounds root vegetables scrubbed and chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • ½ cup low sodium beef broth
  • (I've used various combinations of sweet potato, yellow potato, parsnips and butternut squash)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat.
  2. Rub lamb with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Using tongs, sear each side for 30 seconds. Remove lamb and place on plastic cutting board.
  3. In a food processor, combine garlic, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon ground pepper, mint and rosemary. Process and spread paste over lamb, making sure to get into all the little crevices.
  4. Place lamb in slow cooker overtop of root vegetables, and add wine and broth.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours, then for 1 hour on low.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, remove lamb from slow cooker and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Pull apart any large chunks using a carving fork. Using a slotted spoon, remove root vegetables.
  7. Reserve juice for gravies or for cooking quinoa.
  8. Serve lamb alongside root vegetables or in a taco.
  9. Root vegetables can be blended into a tomato sauce for a lamb ragu.

Notes

I leave the skin on the root vegetables to add flavour to the lamb, with the exception of the butternut squash which has to be peeled.

http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/10/31/how-to-slow-make-cooked-lamb/

Cooking lamb in the crock pot is an easy, comforting meal to make on a winter’s eve.  I love walking in from the cold and being greeted by the aroma of savoury lamb!

What is your favourite meal to make in a slow cooker? Let me know how you served your slow cooked lamb!

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Chia Meatballs & Strawberry Basil Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Chia Meatballs & Strawberry Basil Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Chia Meatballs & Strawberry Basil Sauce

There are certain foods that I will always crave, and pasta with meat sauce is one of them, despite all the bad press they receive.  I love glutenous pasta drenched in a rich red meat sauce, and I stand by that statement loud and proud! Faced with a menu full of fancy dishes at an Italian restaurant, most of the time I’m just tempted to order good ol’ comforting spaghetti and meatballs.

However, despite my unapologetic love for carbs and meat, somewhere deep down I’m a responsible adult who does try to eat healthy (especially after a weekend filled with wine and cheese) and so I set out to make a healthier version of my beloved dish.

I’ve often used spaghetti squash as a substitute for noodles.  Hearty and easy to make, spaghetti squash is ultimately satisfying because you can pig out on a huge portion on very little calories.  For the meatballs, I gave up red meat for turkey and instead of egg and parmesan I used chia seeds and ground cashews as a binding agent.  Chia seeds and cashews have quickly become one of my favourite substitutes for eggs and cheese, they’re both great sources of protein and are packed full of nutrients.

Finally for the sauce, I wanted to balance out the heavy squash as well as add a touch of sweetness to compliment the turkey meatballs.  Combining strawberries and tomatoes made for a really lovely, light sauce and throwing in a handful of fresh basil really brought everything together.

I absolutely loved how this dish turned out, with hints of citrus and spice, this dish is full of bright summer flavours but also comforts the soul with the hearty vegetables of fall.  While nothing will ever take the place of meat and pasta in my heart, I will definitely be craving this healthy version for weeks to come!

Spaghetti Squash with Chia Turkey Meatballs & Strawberry Basil Sauce

51

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

Spaghetti Squash with Chia Turkey Meatballs & Strawberry Basil Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, halved with seeds removed
  • extra virgin olive oil - for drizzling
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/3 cup finely ground cashews
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds - white or black
  • 1 finely minced shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • zest from one whole lemon
  • 2 tbsp parsely - finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cilantro - finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 28oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Drizzle the inside of the squash with olive oil and place face down on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes or until the outside of the squash is just soft enough to press.
  3. Whisk chia seeds and water in a small bowl and set aside for 10 minutes, allowing the chia seeds to gel.
  4. In a large bowl, combine chia gel, ground turkey, oats, cashews, shallot, garlic, zest, parsely, cilantro, olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Using your hands, mix until evenly combined, then form approx 16 meatballs by rolling the mixture lightly in between your palms.
  5. Start the sauce. Heat coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and garlic until soft then add tomatoes and strawberries, breaking up the large chunks with a wooden spoon.
  6. Cook for 3-5 minutes until tomato juices have been reduced by half.
  7. Add basil, honey and red pepper flakes. Cook about 5 minutes more until strawberries are soft.
  8. Pulse in a food processor or blender until mixture is a coarse puree, and pour back into pan.
  9. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is nice and hot, place meatballs in the pan carefully and using tongs, rotate them every few minutes until they are evenly browned on all sides, approx 10 minutes.
  11. Place skillet in the oven and finish cooking the meatballs for 5 minutes.
  12. Remove spaghetti squash from oven and using an oven mitt and a fork, carve out the squash and place on plate like "noodles". Top with four meatballs and a generous topping of sauce.

Notes

This recipe comes together quite quickly, so it's important to prep all the ingredients ahead of time.

http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/07/18/spaghetti-squash-with-turkey-chia-meatballs-strawberry-basil-sauce/

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Chia Meatballs and Strawberry Basil Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Chia Meatballs and Strawberry Basil Sauce

What’s your favourite way to use chia seeds?  Let me know!