After all the holiday sweet, I was craving savory. Meaty. Hearty. Fragrant. This is what I put together in my slow cooker, fork-tender Crockpot Persian Saffron Lamb:
It’s a Persian-spiced boneless leg of lamb on a bed of basmati rice. Saffron enhances both the lamb and the rice. This would make a perfect New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day dish. It’s luxurious, festive, and fragrant. Plus, quite easy to prepare. Only a few minutes of hands-on work, then the slowcooker does the rest. Time heals all wounds, and time makes this lamb tender.
It’s a flexible recipe, too. Not a lamb fan? Use a beef pot roast instead. Into lamb but don’t have a boneless leg of lamb? Use shanks instead. In fact, I prefer lamb shanks, simply because the bone imparts so much flavor. But alas, all I had was a boneless leg of lamb, and still, the result was fantastic. Friends of friends were begging that I send some their way. And I did ;-)
Persian Saffron Lamb, Slowcooker Style
- 3-4 pound boneless leg of lamb, or an equal amount of lamb shanks or beef pot roast
- 1 onion
- 2 Tablespoons butter, ghee, or neutral cooking oil of choice
- 2-3 Tablespoons advieh (Persian spice mix) OR pumpkin pie spice (they have similar ingredients).
- 2 Tablespoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 Tablespoons saffron water (boil 1/4 cup water to the temperature you’d use to make tea. Add a pinch, approx 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads to the water. Refrigerate un-used portion for future use)
- 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and left whole
- 1 28 ounce can of tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Remove fat from lamb using a sharp knife.
2. Chop onion into half moons. In a large dutch oven. cooking pot, or skillet, heat fat over a medium heat and add onion, stirring often.
3. Allow onion to cook about five minutes. As it cooks, salt and pepper the outside of the meat. Either remove onion from the pan altogether or put it aside. Place meat in the pot and sear it for 2-3 minutes per side…enough to get a nice crust on it. Remove meat from the pan and place, carefully, on a heat-safe surface.
4. Place onion back in the pan and add all spices EXCEPT saffron. Stir often, and cook for about 30 seconds, or until you begin to catch the scent of the spices. Put onion into slow cooker immediately.
5. Cut a few slits deep into the meat and insert the garlic cloves. Make sure the cloves are spaced evenly throughout the meat. (Don’t worry about losing moisture from doing this…the slow cooking method will keep the meat plenty moist).
6. To the slow cooker, add the lamb, canned tomatoes, saffron water, and a pinch or two of salt and pepper (you can always adjust salt and pepper later).
7. Cook on low setting for 6-8 hours. I cooked mine for 8 hours, overnight. Once the meat is done, taste sauce, adjust seasoning accordingly, serve over rice, and enjoy!