A Sunday night tradition for as long as I can remember is a roast dinner. Even when I was a little girl, Sunday dinner meant Roast Meat and Potatoes, lots of vegetables and a nice thick gravy (often mopped up with a piece of bread if I was ever in a naughty mood - so nearly every time we had roast LOL)! Growing up my parents loved to be surrounded by our families - something I also treasure dearly. I remember the table always being full and lots of chatter and laughter - everyone enjoying themselves and the food......
Now, in my forties, I still look forward to a Sunday roast. Although during footy season it's a lot harder to organise it with our commitments with the kid's footy. Mainly due to the time constraints and also the Junior club (where our daughter plays) hold presentations/dinner every Sunday night.
I was really wanting a roast dinner…. I wanted a roast dinner badly as it had been so long. So totally out of character for me I cooked a roast on a Tuesday night… yep midweek! Sadly, it was due to darling daughter being sick but it gave me the opportunity. Not only was I going to seize that opportunity but I was going to be adventurous about it.
I found a recipe in a new Weight Watchers Cook Book which got my attention – it was cooked in a slow cooker, had pomegranate as one of the ingredients and had a totally different twist to any roast lamb I have ever cooked. I have only ever cooked on roast in a slow cooker and it was a leg of lamb and I did not enjoy it. Only to find out that I should have browned it first and done this and done that. I was very disappointed.
When I mention cooking a Roast to my family – they automatically think of the traditional roast we grew up loving. I told them how I was going to serve them up lamb tonight I received some interesting looks…. Needless to say I was very determined cooking this dinner – although I cheated!! Well not really cheated but I cooked it in the oven slowly (as the recipe does say) instead of using the slow cooker. Note to self – stop being a chicken and try roasting in the slow cooker again!!
Anyhow, what can I say the flavours on this dish were magnificent. Persian, I am guessing, is very similar to that of Moroccan and all the other middle Eastern cuisines. I have never cooked a Persian meal before. The use of all the spices made the lamb bursting with a tantalising flavour followed by a taste of sweetness from the pomegranate juice. I also loved the garnish of sweet and sour fresh pomegranate arils, nuttiness of the almonds and the salty feta cheese. Served with couscous and vegetables this actually was a wonderful and easy roast to cook and even more so as it’s achievable to do so midweek.
Persian Slow Cooked Lamb with Pomegranate Glaze
(Recipe sourced from Weight Watchers Real Food Slow Cookbook)
SmartPoints per serve: 8
3 brown onions, cut into wedges
4 garlic cloves, chopped
400 gram can crushed tomatoes
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup pomegranate juice
2 orange rind strips
4 fresh or dried bay leaves
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 kilograms lean leg lamb, fat trimmed
2 teaspoons honey
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh pomegranate arils (seeds)
50 grams reduced fat feta cheese
1 tablespoon toasted almonds
Place onion, garlic, tomatoes, stock, juice, rind and bay leaves in a 4.5 litre (18 cup) slow cooker. Combine cinnamon, cumin, coriander and oregano in a small bowl. Rub lamb with spice mixture. Place lamb in slow cooker.
Cook, covered, on low for 7 hours (or high for 3 ½ hours).
Transfer lamb to a plate and cover to keep warm. Skim excess fat from cooking juices and discard bay leaves. Transfer juices to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil uncovered for 10 – 12 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
Stir honey into sauce and spoon over lamb. Sprinkle with parsley, pomegranate arils, feta and almonds to serve.
Serve with 0sp mixed salad leaves or steamed vegetables. You could serve with couscous allowing 3 points per ½ cup.
To cook in the oven:
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Celsius fan forced and bake lamb mixture in a covered baking dish for 2 ½ hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes or until very tender.
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)