Garlic & Rosemary Lamb with Creamy Polenta Recipe | Abel & Cole

Garlic & Rosemary Lamb with Creamy Polenta

Cooking time
Serves4 people

As autumn turns to winter, low, slow, flavour-rich stews are what our bellies rumble for – like this meltingly tender lamb dish, bubbled with plenty of rosemary and garlic, served generously ladled over bowls of creamy, buttery polenta.

Ingredients

  • 500g butterflied lamb shoulder* or diced lamb
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1 red onion
  • 400g carrots
  • 40g tomato sauce
  • A handful of rosemary
  • 500ml full cream milk
  • 200g polenta
  • 200g kale
  • 45g butter
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 400-500ml boiling water
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 500ml cold water
  • 2 tbsp cold water (optional)

*You'll need to unroll and half the lamb if using a boned and rolled joint. Takes about 3 hrs 40 mins on the hob, and about 8 hrs 20 mins in the slow cooker. If using hob method, skip to step 8, when first 2 steps are completed. The polenta will probably form a brown crust on the bottom of your pan as it cooks. Leave it to set while you eat your stew, then use a spoon to scrape it off the bottom of the pan. Any stubborn bits will come off after being soaked for 30 mins in hot water.

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Method

1. Place a large frying pan (or casserole dish if you are cooking the lamb on the hob) on a medium heat. When warm, add 1 tbsp oil. Pop the lamb shoulder, opened out, in the pan and fry for 8 mins, flip over and cook for a further 8 mins.
2. While the lamb cooks, pull 6 garlic cloves from the bulb, peel but leave them whole. Peel and thickly slice the red onion. Peel and cut the carrots into thick slices. Lift the lamb out of the pan and into a 3½ ltr slow cooker, or into a bowl if you’re cooking it on the hob. From this point, follow the method for cooking the lamb in the slow cooker or on the hob.
3. In the slow cooker: Add the peeled garlic cloves, chopped onion and carrots to the slow cooker. Add the tomato sauce, rosemary sprigs and 400ml boiling water. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper and turn the lamb to coat it. Pop a lid on and set the slow cooker to medium and cook for 7-8 hrs. For a faster stew, set the slow cooker to high and cook for 6-7 hrs, or set to low and cook for 9-10 hrs.
4. When the lamb has 40-45 mins left to cook, finely shred the kale leaves, discarding any tough, woody stalks. Add the kale to the slow cooker, cover and cook for 30 mins. Alternatively, you can fry the kale in 1 tbsp oil in a pan for 3-5 mins till just tender while the polenta is cooking.
5. Make the polenta. Pour the milk into a large pan with 500ml cold water. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Set on a medium heat and bring to a bubble. Slowly pour the polenta into the milk, stirring out any lumps. Turn the heat down very low, cover and cook for 10 mins, stirring to stop the polenta sticking too much (see our tip, overleaf).
6. When the lamb is tender and flakes easily when pressed with a fork, lift it out of the slow cooker and onto a plate. Crush the garlic cloves and stir them into the sauce. Using forks, tear the lamb into chunks. Place back in the slow cooker.
7. Stir the butter into the cooked polenta. Taste and add more salt or pepper if you think it needs it. Divide the polenta between 4 warm bowls. Top with the lamb, kale and plenty of sauce from the slow cooker.
8. On the hob: Once you have lifted the lamb out of the casserole, add the onions to the dish and cook for 6 mins till softened. You shouldn’t need any more oil than what is left in the pan. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for 3 mins.
9. Add 500ml water to the pan, along with the tomato sauce. Drop in the rosemary sprigs with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the lamb back to the pan and turn it a few times. Place a lid on the pan, bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 3 hrs or till the lamb is tender.
10. When the lamb has 45 mins left, finely shred the kale leaves, discarding any tough, woody stalks. Add the kale to the lamb, cover and cook for 15-20 mins. Alternatively, you can fry the kale in 1 tbsp oil in a pan for 3-5 mins till just tender while the polenta is cooking.
11. Make the polenta. Pour the milk into a large pan along with 500ml cold water. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Set on a medium heat and bring to a bubble. Slowly pour the polenta into the milk, stirring to avoid lumps. Turn the heat down very low, cover and cook for 10 mins, stirring to prevent the polenta sticking too much (see our tip).
12. When the lamb is tender and flakes easily when pressed with a fork, lift it out of the dish and onto a plate. Crush the garlic cloves with the back of a spoon and stir into the sauce. Using forks, tear the lamb into chunks. Place back in the casserole. Stir the butter into the cooked polenta. Taste and add more salt or pepper if you think it needs it. Divide the polenta between 4 warm bowls. Top with the shredded lamb, kale and plenty of sauce from the casserole dish.
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