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Slow-Cooker Lamb Stew: A Warm And Soothing Meal For New Mothers

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This Slow-Cooker Lamb and Black-Eyed Pea Stew is a postpartum recovery meal that will warm you up and fill you up. With homemade bone broth, soothing spices, and nutrient-dense ingredients, this stew is a great way to support your healing after birth.

Ceramic bowl filled with Slow-Cooker Lamb and Black-Eyed Pea Stew, side dish of steamed rice and small bunch of fresh coriander.

Today I’m going to share with you another recipe that I’ve made for my postpartum freezer stash, and I confess, it’s the one that I’ve prematurely raided the most because it’s just so darn comforting and has felt like the perfect companion in these weeks of waiting for baby.

The 8-hour cooked lamb is tender and succulent, the black-eyed peas creamy and filling, and the spices are fragrant and flavorful. The addition of Napa cabbage adds some crunch, while the sultanas add a touch of sweetness. The stew is best served over steamed rice or with a hunk of sourdough bread with a lashing of butter, with some chopped fresh coriander and/or mint for a burst of freshness.

As a herbalist and naturopath, I always try to include as many nutrient-dense foods in my recipes, as well as infuse healing herbs and spices into my food. And this stew is full of them!

Napa cabbage on cutting board and knife

The inspiration for this recipe comes from the “Lamb and Lentil Stew with Chinese Cabbage” in “Awakening Your Fertility” by Heng Ou, Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger. I adore all of their books and if you’re immersing yourself in nourishing cooking for fertility, pregnancy or postpartum, absolutely check them out. I’ve cooked it so often that it’s slowly evolved into something I can comfortably call my own. I’ve layered it with more spices, used a richer broth base, changed around the dried fruit component and adapted it for the slow cooker. Your kitchen will smell gorgeous as this stew simmers away.

Slow cooker set up with broth, spices, chopped cabbage, sultanas and garlic in country kitchen

The Healing Benefits of Slow-Cooker Lamb, Bone Broth, and Spices in Postpartum Recovery

Lamb is a wonderful meat to eat after giving birth, as it’s rich in protein, iron, vitamin b12 and soothing fat. Chicken bone broth, which I make from scratch using chicken carcasses, chicken feet (the star ingredient), and necks, is full of collagen and gelatin, which will give you a thick and nourishing broth that will gel up at room temperature.

I also add some fresh ginger root and jujubes (Chinese red dates) to the broth for some extra postpartum healing goodness. The spices in this stew are also very aromatic and promote blood circulation – much like the spices in one of my favourite other postpartum dishes, Chicken Rfissa. These not only support digestion but have traditionally been used to ease the discomfort of after-birth pains.

Ball mason jar filled with rich chicken broth and bowl of browned lamb chunks

Slow-Cooker Lamb and Black-Eyed Pea Stew Ingredients

  • 1.5kg boneless leg of lamb, cut into 5 cm chunks
  • 50-60g grass-fed butter
  • 3 brown onions, diced
  • 6 carrots, chopped into chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 140g tomato paste
  • 3L chicken bone broth (homemade or store-bought) or enough to just cover your ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder
  • 9 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 3 star anise
  • Unrefined sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 300 g dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in water with a splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sultanas (dried apricots or figs work beautifully as well)
  • 6 cups (750 g) Napa cabbage, chopped (regular cabbage would be fine though)

Serve with:

  • Fresh coriander and/or mint, chopped
  • Steamed rice (for a gluten-free option) or sourdough bread

Slow-Cooker Lamb Method

Place the black-eyed peas in a large bowl the night before cooking and cover them with water. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar and let them soak overnight. This will help them cook faster and make them easier to digest. Drain and rinse them before using.

Pre-soaked black eye peas in ceramic pot

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and sear the lamb chunks until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. This will add more flavour and texture to your stew. Transfer the lamb to a large slow cooker.

5cm chunks of lamb leg on chopping board
Browning the lamb in the cast iron skillet

Deglaze the pan with a little broth, and add the liquid to the slow cooker. Wipe out your pan, add a knob of butter. Once melted add onions and celery and saute for 5-7 minutes then transfer to the slow cooker.

Browned meat and onions and celery sauteeing in cast iron skillet

Add the carrots, garlic, tomato paste, chicken bone broth, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom, star anise, salt, and pepper to the slow cooker. Stir well to combine everything and make sure the lamb is submerged in the liquid.

Add the black-eyed peas and sultanas and stir again.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the lamb is tender and the peas are cooked through. You don’t need to stir or check on your stew during this time. Just let it cook slowly and gently until everything is done.

Lamb and vegetables in slow cooker

In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the Napa cabbage and stir gently to mix.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and/or mint before serving over rice or bread.

Tips

  • Use any dried fruit you like instead of sultanas, such as apricots, raisins or dates. They will all add some sweetness and chewiness to your stew.
  • You can also use beef brisket or chuck roast instead of lamb if you prefer.
  • If you can’t find black-eyed peas, you can use brown or green lentils.
  • The recipe freezes remarkably well. You can use either Ziploc bags or (as is my preference) food-safe paper containers. These allow for freezing individual portions, which is so handy when you want to whip up a nourishing meal quickly.
Slow-Cooker Lamb and Black-Eyed Pea Stew divided into individual portions ready for freezing
Stack of Slow-Cooker Lamb and Black-Eyed Pea Stew in food safe conatiners.

A Simple and Healing Meal for Postpartum

I would love to hear from you if you try this slow-cooker lamb recipe. Please leave a comment below! If you are looking for more postpartum recipes, make sure you take a look at these posts:

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Slow-Cooker Lamb and Black-Eyed Pea Stew

Slow-Cooker Lamb and Black-Eyed Pea Stew

Yield: 12 serves
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes

This Slow-Cooker Lamb and Black-Eyed Pea Stew is a postpartum recovery meal that will warm you up and fill you up. With homemade bone broth, soothing spices, and nutrient-dense ingredients, this stew is a great way to support your healing after birth.

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg boneless leg of lamb, cut into 5 cm chunks
  • 50-60g grass-fed butter
  • 3 brown onions, diced
  • 6 carrots, chopped into chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 140g tomato paste
  • 3L chicken bone broth (homemade or store-bought) or enough to just cover your ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder
  • 9 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 3 star anise
  • Unrefined sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 300 g dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in water with a splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sultanas (dried apricots or figs work beautifully as well)
  • 6 cups (750 g) Napa cabbage, chopped (regular cabbage would be fine though)

Instructions

    1. Place the black-eyed peas in a large bowl the night before cooking and cover them with water. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar and let them soak overnight. This will help them cook faster and make them easier to digest. Drain and rinse them before using.
    2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and sear the lamb chunks until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. This will add more flavour and texture to your stew. Transfer the lamb to a large slow cooker.
    3. Deglaze the pan with a little broth, and add the liquid to the slow cooker. Wipe out your pan, add a knob of butter. Once melted add onions and celery and saute for 5-7 minutes then transfer to the slow cooker.
    4. Add the carrots, garlic, tomato paste, chicken bone broth, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom, star anise, salt, and pepper to the slow cooker. Stir well to combine everything and make sure the lamb is submerged in the liquid.
    5. Add the black-eyed peas and sultanas and stir again.
    6. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the lamb is tender and the peas are cooked through. You don’t need to stir or check on your stew during this time. Just let it cook slowly and gently until everything is done.
    7. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the Napa cabbage and stir gently to mix.
    8. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.
    9. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and/or mint before serving over rice or bread.

Notes

Use any dried fruit you like instead of sultanas, such as apricots, raisins or dates. They will all add some sweetness and chewiness to your stew.

You can also use beef brisket or chuck roast instead of lamb if you prefer.

If you can’t find black-eyed peas, you can use brown or green lentils.

The recipe freezes remarkably well. You can use either Ziploc bags or (as is my preference) food-safe paper containers. These allow for freezing individual portions, which is so handy when you want to whip up a nourishing meal quickly.

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