There's a reason why slow cooker recipes are wildly popular. We want convenience, and we want—and need—it now. The slow cooker delivers just that, working hard for us while we're hard at work, welcoming us home to a fragrant dinner that's just waiting to be enjoyed. This simple appliance works miracles with tough, inexpensive cuts of meat, coaxing out incredible flavor and turning out meltingly tender results. Through its low, slow cooking, it melds and marries flavors; it brings ingredients together in delicious harmony. And it offers up a few surprises: appetizers, sides, and drinks that simmer to perfection—hands-free.
Serve this classic Middle Eastern meal in bowls so you can scoop up every drop of the tasty sauce with warm pita bread. Offer a salad of chopped lettuce, cucumber, and feta cheese. If you don't care for lamb, ground chicken or turkey will work fine here as well. Removing the seeds and meat from the squash without disturbing the shell can take a little practice, but it makes for a dramatic presentation. It may help you to use a steak knife or utility knife for this, with a longer blade than a standard paring knife. The optional fresh mint added at the end really lends a beautiful hit of cool, fresh herbal flavor to the long-simmered dish.