The challenge: Everything I make in the slow cooker turns into mush. Our solution: Choose ingredients wisely, understanding that some simply aren’t meant cook that long—especially delicate vegetables and many lean, boneless cuts of meat and poultry. Here, whole-grain hulled barley works perfectly, cooking to a pleasantly firm, chewy texture after eight hours. Pearled barley, however, would not fare so well, bloating to a mushy, unappealing texture. Also, strategize: Stir in any delicate ingredients or ones that you want to make a textural impact at the very end. For example, herbs go in at the end here to stay pungent, as well as raisins, which retain some chew.
2 pounds trimmed lamb shoulder or lamb leg, cut into 2-in. cubes
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
Calcium 7% DV
Potassium 20% DV
Added sugars g
How to Make It
Combine stock, onion, barley, apricots, tomato paste, salt, cumin, coriander, red pepper, garlic, and cinnamon sticks in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook lamb in 2 batches, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add browned lamb to slow cooker. Cover, and cook on low 8 hours. Discard cinnamon sticks.
Turn off slow cooker; stir in cilantro, raisins, and lemon juice just before serving.
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