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Old 03-25-2013, 08:32 PM   #1
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Substituting Leg of Lamb for Lamb Shoulder

I plan to make a lamb pot roast in my slow cooker. The recipe calls for boneless lamb shoulder, but the closest I could find was boneless leg of lamb. Will I have to adjust the cooking time or any of the other ingredients? The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients
4 lbs boneless lamb shoulder
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 T chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 t crumbled dried
1 3-inch strip orange zest
12 whole garlic cloves peeled

Instructions
Place lamb in slow cooker, pour over tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste, the rosemary and the zest. Place the garlic cloves around the lamb.

Cook 8 - 10 hours on low. Remove the lamb, skim the fat from the juices, remove the orange zest and smash the garlic cloves. Carve the lamb and serve with the sauce.

Thanks!

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Old 03-25-2013, 08:39 PM   #2
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Leg of lamb has less fat than the shoulder cut and doesn't require near as much cooking time. In fact, I like leg done a little on the rare side - about 145 F. If you overcook it, it has a tendency to become tough.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:26 PM   #3
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I agree with Steve. I'd save that recipe for when you can find a mush less expensive lamb shoulder although the recipe looks delicious. To me it would be a shame to overcook a succulent boneless leg of lamb, much like I'd never cook a prime rib in a crock pot.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:22 PM   #4
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i disagree, sort of.

american lamb is fairly lean, so the aforementioned advice holds true.

new zealand or aussie lamb is fattier, so it'll be closer to shoulder.

in either case, i think you'll be ok with substituting one for the other if you brown the leg in some grapeseed oil (or other neutrally flavoured oil) first, then put it in the slow cooker and reduce the time. Another variable to be considered is your crock pot. Newer ones cook at higher temps, so I've found they require much less time than recipes call for.
After 5 hours or so, check to see if it's tender and cooked through. Of not, wait another hour and repeat.

hth.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the comments and advice. I decided to go ahead with the lamb in the slow cooker. I inserted a meat thermometer into the leg and will cook until it reaches ~145*.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petek View Post
Thanks for all the comments and advice. I decided to go ahead with the lamb in the slow cooker. I inserted a meat thermometer into the leg and will cook until it reaches ~145*.
Keep in mind this will be a matter of taste. I personally like lamb somewhat medium rare, so I cook it to 145 and then tent it with foil for 15-20 minutes before carving. If you like it more pink than red, you can take it up to about 150-155. Anything more than that and it starts tasting a little dry, in my opinion.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:15 AM   #7
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I'm curious about your results Petek. Best of luck and please let us know how it turns out.
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:42 AM   #8
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I'm curious about your results Petek. Best of luck and please let us know how it turns out.
In short, the lamb came out OK, but not great. Using a meat thermometer worked well, since I could monitor the internal temperature without having to open the slow cooker lid. The meat reached 150* in about 5 3/4 hours, much sooner than I expected. The flesh was tender and moist, but there also was lots of gristle and/or connective tissue present. Usually these elements "dissolve" in a slow cooker, but not this time. I don't know if this was due to the relatively short cooking time, or perhaps this cut of meat just isn't suitable for slow cooking. The sauce was the best part. I defatted it and pureed it in a blender. It was delicious.
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:30 PM   #9
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I'm glad it turned out well (for the most part). You might have better luck with soup/stew in the slow cooker, next time.

Lamb, Kale & Chickpea Soup Go Bold with Butter
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:12 PM   #10
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... there also was lots of gristle and/or connective tissue present. Usually these elements "dissolve" in a slow cooker, but not this time.
One thing to be aware of with leg of lamb is that sometimes there is "silver skin" that needs to be removed before cooking. No amount of cooking will break it down. It could also simply have been a bad cut. That happens sometimes.
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