Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker with Garlic and Rosemary

Leg+of+Lamb+Slow+Cooker Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker with Garlic and Rosemary

Ta da! (Honestly – I didn’t even arrange the rosemary in this photo – it just came out that way.)

I’m really – for sure this time – bringing back Sunday Dinner.

I don’t mean that in the sense of reintroducing it to the world – I know this is something people commonly do – and yes, we’ve been eating dinner on Sunday nights for quite some time, but the tradition of bringing the extended family around the table for something that might even require actual napkins (as opposed to the omnipresent roll of paper towels) is something we’ve fallen out of the habit of. Not that it ever was a big thing in the childhood of my memory – throughout our twenties and most of our thirties we’d go to Mike’s parents house for Old Shoe Cooked in Beer, which we’ll just say didn’t foster the grandest memories. I’ve always wondered what it might have been like to marry into a big, food-loving Italian family who (in my fantasies) cooked through the middle of each Sunday to put on an early feast. Sort of like the afternoon equivalent of brunch. Mike and I used to say, back when we had a teeny apartment and no room, that we’d do this someday when we had a house. And finally – more reason than ever with my sister across the street – we’re instigating it.

I love the warm, chaotic bustle of a late Sunday afternoon and the collective sigh that follows as everyone disperses to finish their homework and get ready for the week. Even the overflowing sinkload of dishes doesn’t deter me.

Leg+of+Lamb+Slow+Cooker+2 Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker with Garlic and Rosemary

Dinner tonight was leg of lamb – done almost effortlessly in the slow cooker.

Wait, I missed a part.

I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not particularly computer-savvy. I don’t do Google analytics and track search engine keywords nor do I know much about SEO techniques. But when I do take a peek at my stats, down at the bottom of the page (if I manage to scroll down there) there is a list of search terms that were inputted and resulted in someone finding Dinner with Julie. EVERY TIME I’ve looked at this list, “leg of lamb slow cooker” is there. Every single time. So either a lot of people want to know just how to cook a leg of lamb in a slow cooker, or I’m one of few who have written about it on this here world-wide inter-web. So it has been rattling around the back of my mind to do it again sometime.

Leg+of+Lamb+in+Slow+Cooker Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker with Garlic and Rosemary

The prep couldn’t have been much simpler. At around 11 this morning, as we were about to leave for the park, I remembered that I had it and it needed to start sooner rather than later if we were to eat at a reasonable time. It’s size wouldn’t allow me to brown it (the bone put it at an angle in the pan) and so I turned on the barbecue and quickly seared it (to add flavour) while chopping some Yukon Gold potatoes into the bottom of the slow cooker. I tossed the lamb on top of its potato bed, threw in a bunch of garlic cloves, pressed another few and rubbed it on the lamb, tossed in some rosemary and a glug of wine, set it on low and went out. (Note: The bone stuck out, keeping the lid from closing, so I covered the lot in foil to keep the heat in, then draped a dishtowel over it to weigh it down and make sure no steam pushed through.)

Hotchkiss+chard Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker with Garlic and Rosemary

While we were out I found a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard from Hotchkiss Farms at Blush Lane, and so we also had roasted chick peas with garlic and chard – a perfect pairing for lamb. (I’ve become lazier about this dish the more I make it – I sauté the chick peas with a few cloves of garlic in a hot pan with plenty of canola oil until they darken and get crispy – throw in the chopped chard and some water or stock, lid it for about 10 minutes to cook the chard through, then take the lid off and make sure any moisture has cooked off, add salt, and it’s done.)

Leg+of+Lamb+Slow+Cooker+3 Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker with Garlic and Rosemary

The lamb was fantastic. Perfectly cooked after 6 hours (not even, I think) – it fell off the bone but still had some tooth to it. The potatoes were intense, having absorbed all those lamby juices, and could have been easily roughly mashed (YUM) but we scooped them out, all deep golden and studded with softened cloves of garlic, and ate them alongside what was essentially pulled lamb. My mom and sister doused theirs in mint sauce. I want the leftovers wrapped in soft flatbread with tzatziki. For breakfast, maybe.

Lamby+potatoes+slow+cooker Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker with Garlic and Rosemary

Leg+of+Lamb+ +stripped Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker with Garlic and Rosemary

Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker with Garlic and Rosemary

olive or canola oil, for cooking
1 bone-in leg of lamb
4-5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into chunks
1 head garlic, peeled
salt
a few sprigs of rosemary
about a wineglass full of red wine

Rub the oil all over the lamb and either brown it in a hot pan or throw it on the grill to get some colour. Meanwhile, toss all the potatoes and about half the garlic cloves into the bottom of your slow cooker.

Put the lamb on top of the potatoes, squish a few more cloves of garlic and rub it over the surface, then sprinkle with salt. Toss in a few sprigs of rosemary and pour some wine in around the potatoes, cover (if the bone sticks out, cover the lid with foil to seal in the heat) and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Carve the lamb and serve with the potatoes, finished with a squeeze of lemon, if you like. Serves 6-10.

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March 14 2010 10:57 pm | lamb and slow cooker

43 Responses to “Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker with Garlic and Rosemary”

  1. Cheryl on 14 Mar 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    I’ve always been that lazy with the chickpeas and chard.
    As far the rest of the meal, can I be in your family too?

  2. Erica B. on 14 Mar 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    still giggling over “Old Shoe Cooked in Beer” – I wonder what you get when you google that?

    Lamb is something I’ve shied away from but this makes me want to try it. As for flatbread – I love the pita from 2 Greek Gals – I wonder where/if you can get it outside of market hours?

  3. Don Genova on 14 Mar 2010 at 11:29 pm #

    Funny, we posted about our Sunday dinners within just a few minutes of each other!

    For many, many years, anyone in our extended family was welcome to go over to our Aunt Polly’s house on Sunday afternoons. There would always be a big pot of spaghetti and meatballs, usually some homemade spicy sausage in the sauce, huge green salads and homemade pie or cake for dessert. My cousin and I would raid the cookie jar a little later while everyone watched ‘Disney’ before going home.

    When I lived in Italy as a student for a year, I told my roommate that we should have Sunday family dinners. Our classmates living down the street agreed and as often as we could we did the dinners, each of us sharing recipes from Canada, Spain, Turkey, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It made our experience there that much more memorable. Good on you for getting that tradition going again with your family!

  4. Michelle in NZ on 15 Mar 2010 at 5:31 am #

    Oh Wow! Your slow cooker ceramic “inner” even looks like mine. A Sunday roast was a standard from my childhood only my dear Mum wasn’t (and still isn’t) a very good cook. I have taken over her kitchen, with her blessings, for the last 10 Christmases – now I can trial for me and then make for them a yummy, scrummy roast lamb recipe.

    It looks utterly gorgeous (just as well my lamb-loving cat is asleep), I expect it tasted even better – super thanks for sharing such a great cooking method.

  5. Lana in South Mountain (ON) on 15 Mar 2010 at 6:37 am #

    Great minds think alike. I, too, miss the Sunday dinners that my Mom always hosted with Grandma and Grandpa coming over and any friends/family who were visiting that afternoon. Yesterday, I put a pot roast in the oven late morning and as I painted the living room and hallway, did laundry, etc, the gorgeous smell of roasting beef, red wine, garlic and herbs filled the house. We feasted for dinner, and will continue with variations of these leftovers for at least the early part of the week.
    Next Sunday- inviting over a gang for something similar!

  6. Jan (Family Bites) on 15 Mar 2010 at 6:46 am #

    My Dad used to make roast beef each and every Sunday of my youth. Sometimes my grandparents would come and we would always have potatoes, carrots and peas. Always the same and ALWAYS on Sunday night. What a great idea to bring Sunday dinners back to the family table.

  7. Fran on 15 Mar 2010 at 7:18 am #

    Oh yes, I love your breakfast idea. I hadn’t thought of slow cooking a leg of lamb, but I frequently do it with a shank. I wish I had people around to have Sunday dinner with. I’d make a whole leg if it were not me alone for dinner all the time and I think it would fit perfectly in my slow cooker.

    Time to plan a dinner party.

  8. pauline on 15 Mar 2010 at 8:06 am #

    Now that all my kids have left home,I love it when they can come home for Sunday dinner. It also gives me a great excuse to make a wow desert. Growing up in England lamb was always on the menu love it love it love. I have never made the leg of lamb in the slow cooker great idea Julie to get around the leg sticking out.

  9. Carol SB on 15 Mar 2010 at 8:23 am #

    Julie, this looks fanTAStic.
    Love the idea of pre-browning on the grill (I love the slow-cooker, but feel it takes away from the ‘ease’ when I pre-brown meat. Adds cleanup, etc.)
    Love the chard recipe again. If you ever need testimonials about your chard, just let me know.
    Now, I’ve got to tell you, we all need to mark something on the calendar for next year. I got a phone call about quiche from the daughter who’s at University: March 14 is pie day. 3.14~=pi. Why didn’t we think of this earlier?
    Like I NEED an excuse.

  10. Katie on 15 Mar 2010 at 8:33 am #

    This looks AWESOME. I sometimes see the lamb legs on sale for such a great price, but I’m usually so intimidated since I’ve never cooked one before. The slow cooker sounds perfect. My husband is Palestinian-American, so he grew up eating lamb almost every day…I never make it, but now I have the perfect reason to!

  11. JulieVR on 15 Mar 2010 at 8:33 am #

    Oh yes – we made pie on CBC last week in honour of Pi Day! A lot of people are deterred by having to brown something first before putting it in the slow cooker. It’s not necessary – you can just toss it all in – but quickly browning it first adds SO much flavour!

  12. Lee on 15 Mar 2010 at 9:30 am #

    I’m one of those who found your site via Google and “slow cooker leg of lamb.” The fact that I did so yesterday, and that you featured the recipe yesterday as well, is serendipitous! I’ve got the lamb in the slow cooker as I type, and the house is already smelling divine. Can’t wait for dinner tonight – thanks so much!

  13. Lesli Christianson-Kellow on 15 Mar 2010 at 9:54 am #

    I’ve never cooked a leg of lamb, but in a crockpot, I know I can! …I love the idea of searing the leg of lamb on the BBQ ’cause it didn’t fit in a pot…Good stuff!

  14. stacey snacks on 15 Mar 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    I always do Sunday dinners.
    I have a section on my site for “Sunday Suppers”.
    You are tempting me to buy a slow cooker now!
    I have never owned one, and I love the idea of just letting it sit all day while doing other things.
    This lamb looks gorgeous!

  15. Karen on 15 Mar 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Ahh, Sunday dinner. I regularly attend Sunday dinner at my parents. Some think it odd, like it is obligatory or something. Not at all. It is a pleasure seeing the clan congregate. Food and sense of community are at the heart of life non? However, my little family (as in my husband, daughter and I) have our own little ritual. I call it Wednesday-Sunday night dinner. I actually set the dining room table, and instead of dining and dashing to whatever activities that are on the calendar, we slow it down around here mid-week. It really has become something special and I highly recommend it. Too much of life is like a drive-thru, with expectation of instant gratification instead of allowing for the magic of anticipation. Thanks for spreading the message Julie!

  16. Lynn on 15 Mar 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    Julie, this weekend I made the Hoisen Pork Lettuce wraps that you wrote about in last weekend’s Swerve. They were delicious! The recipe is a keeper – not only delicious but fast and easy.

  17. Barb on 15 Mar 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    My mother would like to have you as a daughter. Can she come to Sunday dinners? Apparently, I haven’t “brought back” Sunday dinner for a while now.
    I used to do them once a month or so but got away from it. I like them, too.

  18. Dianne on 15 Mar 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    Looks awesome Julie. I’m going out to buy my third slow cooker. I’ve given the first two away because I never used them, but I think the new one’s going to get more use if only for this dish.

  19. thepinkpeppercorn on 15 Mar 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    Yum, yum, yum!

  20. Tina on 15 Mar 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    I love Sunday dinners – even if it’s just 3 of us. Great reason to make a dessert.
    When my husband and I met, his teenage kids were not adventurous at all in the dinner department. They started to call Sundays mystery vegetable night (any plant matter other than peas,carrots, beans and corn fell into that category)!

  21. Manon from Ontario on 16 Mar 2010 at 8:34 am #

    Good morning Julie and bloggers :)

    I love Sunday dinner family gatherings, they have a special place in my heart. You see ever since my father past away when I was 4 1/2 I really cherish my family, as they make me feel like a complete family.

    That’s one reason I make a point to invite my extended family to our sugar shack while we are in season, it’s a way for me to show them how much I appreciate them.

    We made taffy, suckers, soft candies, maple butter and taffy/butter cones over the weekend, along with boiling the sap…

    Hope W feels better soon.

    Have a great day :)

    MFO

  22. Cathy (Yusep) Norrie on 19 Mar 2010 at 7:25 am #

    Hi Julie,

    I am listening to your voice (doing traffic!- which is a pleasure to listen to when you do it!) on the CBC Eye Opener while browning my leg o’lamb (in deference to just past St. Patrick’s Day)… which I will then pop in the slow cooker, thanks to you talking about it yesterday on CBC! Yay you!!… (and hence, yay me)!!

    I am heading out to work in a few minutes and yet we are having a dinner party tonight. I knew I could count on you to provide inspiration and even an answer for me… and sure enough – you did!! I love cooking and serving lamb but have never tried doing it in a slow cooker – brilliant!!

    I can’t wait to walk in after work and have those heavenly smells greet me (of course those same aromas will be torturing our puppies all day, I’m sure!). And what a treat – set the table, open a bottle of wine, put on our Friday night party clothes (jeans and tee!!) and there we go… ready for our guests!

    Thank you, yet again, Julie, for your smiling voice ( a hit for radio!)and your way of cooking that matches mine in every way…(I’m sure we must be long lost sisters!)…

    signed
    a friend (or sister!) you didn’t know you had!!

    Cathy

  23. Cooking and Crafting « Daisy Sewing on 24 Mar 2010 at 8:11 am #

    [...] that the cuter the animal, the more delicious it must be. So on Sunday, I tried Julie’s Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker recipe. It was so easy and such a success! I, however, am not the biggest fan of lamb, so while the [...]

  24. rjchalfant on 26 Mar 2010 at 11:12 am #

    Hi,
    I have been looking for an easy/good way to prepare leg of lamb and will definitely prepare one this way for my Easter dinner.
    Thanks for the marvelous idea.
    R. J.

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  26. Denise on 07 Jan 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Made this for my boyfriend who was begging for a lamb feast for weeks. Now he wants it every week. I added a touch more wine, lightly crushed black peppercorns (about 6-10), as well as a handful of chopped celeriac to the potatoes at the bottom of the pan for a little extra sweetness. Really great!

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  28. Carolann on 11 Dec 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Am definitely going to try the lamb in my slow cooker. Think I’ll do it for the lower time tho since we like a little pink inside. Love the suggestion about the towel on top. Will definitely have to use it since my slow cooker is on the smaller side.

  29. Nancy on 04 Jan 2013 at 9:26 am #

    I made this last night and it was amazing! Love the wine tip! Thank you:)))

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  34. skippy on 23 Jan 2014 at 3:11 am #

    I just won a nice leg in the pub ‘meat raffle’…
    Guess what I’m doing this Sunday! x

  35. Andrew on 09 Feb 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe, the idea of using foil and a tea-towel worked really well.

    I am however really disappointed with the “head of garlic” idea. It was too pungent, too strong and no amount of mint sauce could disguise the fact.

    What did I do wrong?

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  37. Sarah on 19 Apr 2014 at 3:25 am #

    Was hunting for a ‘slow cooked leg of lamb’ recipe for EASTER Sunday tomorrow and up this came. Brilliant! Got a slow cook pot, going to dig it out and pop the lamb in! Thanks…… Sarah in Brighton

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