A slow cooked meal is a perfect Winter dinner. It’s hearty, filling and pretty much cooks itself – a bonus if you’re time poor or want to have a decent meal ready when you get home from work.
This pilaf is literally a one pot wonder and as with most meals, I like to pack them full of vegetables to add extra vitamins and minerals and fibre and to make sure our plates are half veggies. Adding spinach to a hot dish means that you can add in SO much of this leaf without drowning the meal in it as 1 cup of wilts down to about 1/4 cup.
By adding chickpeas to this meal, I find that it keeps the kids interested. Often when I serve up a slow cooked meal they say “I don’t like it” before they are even sitting properly on their seats, but for some reason, they are fascinated by chickpeas or other types of beans, which is great as they are an excellent source of protein and soluble fibre and they are a good filler.
- 500g lamb shoulder, roughly chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- Zest of 1 orange, coarsely grated
- Juice of 1 orange
- 2 tbs coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 tbs preserved lemon, finely chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 400g pumpkin, cut into 1-2cm cubes
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-2cm cubes
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-2cm cubes
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups spinach leaves, loosely packed, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup currants
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 tbs of each of coriander leaves, mint, dill, flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Natural yoghurt to serve
- Combine paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and fennel seeds in a bowl and mix to combine. Rub the spice mix into the lamb shoulder. Place into slow cooker.
- Add orange juice, zest, preserved lemon, chicken stock and 2 tbs chopped coriander.
- Turn the slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours.
- After 6 hours, add the pumpkin, eggplant and zucchini, stir and replace the lid.
- After 7.5 hours, add the rice, chickpeas and currants, stir and replace the lid.
- Once the 8 hours is complete, test the rice. If it is not quite cooked, add 1/4 cup more water and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
- When the rice is cooked, stir through the spinach leaves and replace the lid for 2-3 minutes to allow it to wilt.
- To toast the pine nuts, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring until golden. Remove from heat.
- Place pilaf into a serving bowl and sprinkle with pine nuts and herbs.
- Serve with natural yoghurt.