This recipe originally came from Sara Lewis, but she called for Venison Sausages and Cranberries. I only had pork sausages and don’t really like fruit of any description (e.g apricots, raisins, apple) in my dinner so I just omitted them. The picture doesn’t do it justice but I can’t stress enough how amazingly good it was.
1 TBSP olive oil
6-8 good quality pork sausages (we get ours from the local butcher)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, mince (I buy frozen portions of garlic)
2 TBSP plain flour
900ml chicken stock
3 TBSP light or dark brown sugar
2 TBSP tomato puree
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
200g puy lentils
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
Place the lentils and bay leaf in the bottom of the slow cooker
Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the sausages on all sides. No need to cook through as they will be in the slow cooker for 6 hours. Set aside.
Add the onion and garlic to the frying pan and saute for approx 3 minutes until they soften. Sprinkle over the flour and mix well for about a minute. Gradually add the stock, then stir in the sugar, tomato puree, vinegar and season with a bit of salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Pour the mixture over the lentils and place the sausages on top. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves and serve with crusty bread.
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Slow Cooker Lamb, Carrot and Pearl Barley Casserole with Dumplings
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Slow Cooking
Author: Mediocre Mum
I don’t normally cook many casseroles and stews but this is the perfect meal for the current dropping temperatures. It’s hard to describe the smell, but I came home to a lovely ‘sweet’ smell coming from the kitchen. The Pearl Barley gives it a thick creamy texture.
1 TBSP of Oil
300g of lamb (as you are slow cooking you could use mutton)
salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
3-4 medium carrots, sliced diagonally
2 celery stick, chopped
45g of Pearl Barley
450 ml of Lamb Stock
2 pinches of dried parsley
Dumplings – I use Aunt Bessie’s finest frozen
Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the lamb, season with salt and pepper and brown for approximately 5 minutes.
Add the onion, carrots and celery and fry for a further 3-5 minutes.
Transfer to the slow cooker. Sprinkle the barley over the lamb and vegetables, add the stock, stir and sprinkle the parsley on top.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
And 90 minutes before serving, place the frozen dumplings on top. After 45 minutes turn them.
Ladle into large bowls and enjoy!
If you do try any of my recipes do pop back and let me know what you think. For more Slow Cooker inspiration, click on the tab at the top.
I really did think that Gary from Norfolk Deli was winding me up when he said Beef Skirt as I’d never heard of it. I thought he was hoping I’d go to the shops and ask for it, similar to glass hammers, skirting board ladders etc. However, I’ve now learned that it’s a great cut of meat for slow cooking, it almost had a slight sweet taste to it.
Here’s a recipe that’s very simple but relies on good quality ingredients to make it sing. It uses beef skirt which is a wonderfully tasty and a less expensive cut of beef and is perfect for slow cooking. Serves 4 increase qty’s for larger families.
500 gms of beef skirt, my preference is Aberdeen angus or a rare breed but failing that use your local butcher.
2 large organic Parsnips
3 good size organic carrots
A large onion or 2 small ones.
1 Bottle of dark bottle conditioned ale. Try to use locally produced ale, expect to pay £3 for this. Supermarket mass produced dark ales don’t cut it I’m afraid.
Some beef stock (see note*)
Fresh garden herbs or a bouquet garni.
Dice the skirt into cubes and brown it off. Chop half the onion chunky and half thinly and put it, the browned skirt and half of the bottle of ale into the slow cooker crock.
Chop the carrots and parsnips into large(ish) batons and put them in too. Top up the crock with stock so that the liquid is level with the contents. Add seasoning (careful with adding salt as some shop bought stock is packed with salt) and fresh garden herbs or a bouquet garni.
You can always thicken the gravy towards the end. I serve it with crispy roast potatoes and green veg but you can have it on its own or experiment by adding other veg such as celeriac or swede; Or add a handful of peas in last 25 mins for colour.
Put your slow cooker on following manufactures instructions (low 6-8 hours).
* I make my own stock from bones I get from my local butcher. Bring to boil then let simmer for hour and then once cooled and sieved put the liquid into ice cube bags and freeze until you need it.
If you want to use the whole bottle of beer then feel free, I just enjoy a drink whilst cooking!
Gary won’t be best pleased with me, but as a busy mum I didn’t have time to track down a bottle of conditioned dark ale and opted for a supermarket one and as we’re trying to watch the pennies I didn’t use organic veg. The only other thing I did that was different was that I added some dumplings (Aunt Bessie’s) 90 minutes before the end. Turning them once. If this was a detriment to the recipe I couldn’t tell as it was gorgeous. Makes me wonder how delicious it would have been if I stuck to the recommended ingredients.
Thanks for the recipe Gary. We will definitely be having it again and you’re welcome on the blog anytime.
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