I’ve stocked up on lamb shanks. Last week I made lamb shank and barely soup and I’m planning on a lamb shank dish from Saha (Beyran Soup – slow cooked lamb soup with garlic and green chillies). Tonight I made Jamie Oliver’s Spiced Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks. I’ve made them before (several times) and I’ll no doubt be making them again! Sticky, sweet, rich and spicy – served with creamy polenta and green beans it doesn’t get much better than this.
Rain bucketing down, wind buffeting the trees, wooly jumpers emerging, and dark in the morning. I think I have to admit winter is with us (and it’s only the first day of June!).
I might not want to be out in the weather but I really do like winter cooking, not least because it’s ‘leftovers’ season. All the food I make is just as good, if not better, the next day and we often go for a week on leftovers of one kind or another.
I feel a self-satisfied glow knowing I have shanks leftover for tomorrow night (or maybe the next). Lamb shanks are a classic winter warmer – just thinking about them helps to chase the chill away.
What makes this dish hum is the combination of rolling the shanks in a fragrant spice and herb mix that includes chilli (for a little warmth) and rosemary (because the are so right together); adding several anchovy fillets to the soffritto to give the meat extra depth; and using some balsamic vinegar to assist with the jammy rich flavours. Of course the long slow cooking is a must if you want the meat to fall off the bone and to attain that really sticky texture that only shanks can.
This is my favourite lamb shank dish (so far). What’s yours?
I haven’t printed the recipe for the lamb here as I don’t have permission but I found it on a recipe swap forum at the Jamie Oliver site so I figure it’s OK to share. This is from the first Naked Chef cookbook, which I noticed the other day is now available in new paperback edition in Big W.
I made two very minor adjustments to the shank recipe. I used 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder instead of dried chilli as I have found from past experience that dried chillies and chilli flakes are really resistant to being ground up finely in a mortar and pestle. I also added sea salt (and black peppercorns) when I was pounding up the coriander seeds as the roughness of salt helps with the grinding of other spices. This just meant I didn’t separately season the shanks before rolling in the spice mix.
My tip for seasoning and flouring – place seasoning in a freezer bag and then add the shanks one at a time and shake the bag around to get them evenly coated. Then add the flour and repeat the process.
Polenta (that won’t harden your arteries)
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup soy or cows milk ( I use soy because I like the slight nutty flavour it gives)
1/2 cup instant polenta
freshly ground black pepper
25g grated pecorino (optional)
Bring stock and milk to low simmer in a largish saucepan. Pour in polenta while whisking. Keep whisking for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is clearly coming away from the sides and bottom of the pan.
Add cheese, if using and black pepper. Serve.