Slow-cooked Lamb Pizza with Spinach & Bacon

Slow-cooked Lamb Pizza with Spinach & Bacon I'm a real fan of slow-cooking food. Firstly, the taste is amazing - meat is soft and tender, and really takes on the flavours of what you cook it with. The meat falls off the bone so you don't waste anything, and it's not a hassle to carve. It's generally pretty straightforward to cook, and you can get started in the morning when you are feeling motivated (as opposed to after work when you are feeling haggard.
slow-cooked lamb pizza


But the best thing about slow-cooked food is the smell. I often work from home, and there's nothing better than working away on a website with nice smells from the kitchen to keep you company.

Pizza

Everyone has their own version of how to do pizza, including me.
I reckon...
  • Mozzarella cheese is overrated. I don't usually bother because it's so expensive and doesn't really add anything to a good pizza. If your ingredients are fresh and tasty, you don't need mozzarella cheese. Cheddar works fine. On top of that, cheese isn't that great for you so it makes sense to not make it the main ingredient of your dish.
  • Make your own base. You can make any pizza taste great if you use a homemade base, as opposed to a base that has been sitting in the supermarket chiller for a week. Using a bread maker to make your base is really easy, but in the past I used to hand knead my bases. A fresh and soft base makes everything else taste good.
    I like a soft base that is fairly thin, but this is personal preference. The important part is to make it yourself.
  • Plenty of herbs. Pizzas totally absorb the flavors from whatever herbs you use, so go nuts. Choose a herb you have plenty of, and one that matches the rest of your ingredients. Coriander goes amazing with chicken pizzas (add after cooking), mint or rosemary with lamb, thyme with anything, dill or fennel with fish.
  • Use 1 - 2 star ingredients. In my mind, a pizza is a base of fresh ingredients to give it weight, and a couple of star ingredients to give it the flavor. Star ingredients can be anything - tonight's choice was slow cooked lamb, and once you tasted the pizza you could tell the lamb was the star and the bacon was just filler. On another night, you could make the bacon the star by doing a funky marinade or using big chunks instead of small slices. If you want to make the cheese the star, feta or cream cheese can be the main ingredient with cheddar to top.
  • Big chunks of ingredients. If all ingredients are blended and chopped up small, nothing really stands out. The pizza gets a nice overall flavor, but nothing amazing. By using big chunks, every bite has a different taste to it - sometimes you taste the lamb, sometimes you taste the herbs, it's a really good way of doing pizza.
  • Something fresh after cooking. I like to garnish my pizzas with something fresh after the pizza comes out of the oven. Try adding some yoghurt, banana, coriander, sour cream, chutney, hot sauce, or something else to your pizza after it's out of the oven. Something fresh and cold is a nice touch.
  • Toppings to the outer edge. Because the center of the pizza is going to get all chopped up, don't go putting too much topping in the middle, that's just common sense. I like to drag my topping right out to the edge of the pizza so I don't get as much crispy crust.

Slow-cooked lamb pizza with Spinach and Bacon

So, with all that in mind, here's an awesome pizza recipe you might not have had before. But the thing about pizzas is to make them your own, so I'd suggest reading this recipe once, getting the gist of it, then running off and making something of your own based on what ingredients you have.
  • 2 freshly made pizza bases
  • 6Tbsp mango chutney
  • 6Tbsp tomato relish
  • 6Tbsp tomato sauce
  • Fresh/dried Oregano and/or thyme for pizza sauce
  • 2 heads of spinach
  • 4 rashers of bacon
  • a large handful of chopped mint
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • cheese - works fine with plain cheddar, mozzarella fine too
  • 1 small onion
  • slow-cooked lamb pieces

Make the pizza bases

Your breadmaker should have a recipe for pizza bases, so follow that. Roll the bases flat and put them on a pizza tray or pizza stone for at least a couple of hours. More time = thicker base.

Slow cook the lamb

For this dish, I used one of Jamie's recipes from his book "jamie's dinners". I'm not able to republish the recipe, so I suggest using his recipe or finding your own way to slow cook a leg or shoulder of lamb.
Jamie's recipe involves stuffing the leg with garlic and herbs, sitting it in an oven tray on top of a bottle of red wine and olive oil, then leaving it for 4 hours on low heat. It's amazing.
Slow-cooked lamb


You will find the lamb breaks off the bone easily, and try not to eat it all at this stage.

Prepare the sauce

The secret ingredient of pizza sauce is mango chutney. I keep a jar in the fridge especially for pizzas. On each pizza base, I put a few large dollops of mango chutney, a few large dollops of tomato relish, then some plain old tomato sauce to loosen it up a bit - relish and chutney can be too thick to spread. Add some thyme /oregano / marjoram (fresh or dried) and get a little helper to spread the sauce across the bases.
Lulu adding sauce to pizza


Add the toppings

First off I like to start with a thin layer of cheese. Apparently this is how the Italians do it, but I don't care about that - I reckon the cheese helps bind the toppings to the base.
Next, add the filler ingredients - in this case thinly sliced onions and mushrooms.
Saute the spinach and bacon with a knob of butter for a few minutes so the spinach goes soft, and then place on the pizza.
Spinach and bacon


Add the slow-cooked lamb in big chunks, then sprinkle a generous coating of chopped mint across the top. Mint and lamb is one of those combinations that just works.
Add a sprinkling of cheese - remember, the cheese is not the star ingredient here, so don't go silly.
All toppings added


Cooking

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius on fan bake - if the lamb has just come out of the oven it will already be warm. Cook the pizza for about 20 mins depending how thick you laid the toppings.
Ready!


Serving

Normally I would sit down and destroy the whole pizza by myself, but this time I decided to balance the meal with a nice mandarin and capsicum salad - recipe covered separately.
Served with salad


Serve with a glass of red wine and enjoy.
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Tags: recipeslambpizzaslow cookingslow cooker recipeslamb recipes