SLOW COOKED LAMB SHANKS2016-07-21
- Servings : 6 to 8
- Prep Time : 20m
- Cook Time : 2:30 h
- Ready In : 3:0 h
1.5kg Whole Lamb shanks
1 can of peeled and chopped tomatoes (400g)
500g green beans – topped and tailed
200g red capsicum – finely chopped
200g onion – finely chopped
4 large cloves of garlic – grated
20g fresh ginger – grated
10g fresh rosemary (or 5g dried)
Lightly grated skin of one lemon
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
6 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 to 2 teaspoons of salt as desired
If cooking in an electric slow cooker; place all the dry powder ingredients as well as herbs, ginger, salt and garlic with the can tomatoes and stir to combine well. Place the lamb shanks in the cooker with chopped capsicum, onion and the grated lemon skin, then pour over evenly the tomato mixture and set the cooker to cook on high, low or automatic, for explanation see *suggestion below. At the last 30 minutes of cooking add the green beans so that it retains its texture and colour.
For cooking in the oven; brown the lamb shanks on a stove top on moderate-to-high heat in a large fry pan in small amount of olive oil for roughly ten minutes turning it once or twice to brown evenly. Remove it and place it in an oven-proof dish and switch on the oven to moderate-high heat roughly 190 degrees on electric. Place the lamb in the oven. Return the fry pan back to the stove top and add the onions and capsicum and stir fry for roughly 5 minutes to caramelize a little. Now add garlic and the ginger and stir and cook for roughly a minute followed by the powder spices and stir and cook for another minute. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan except the beans. Bring to boil and pour all this goodness on top of the shanks, cover the dish and return it to the oven, lower the heat to 160 and cook for a minimum of 3 hours at 160 or quicker if the temperature is left at 190 degrees. Finally place the green beans to the oven dish and cook for another 30 minutes or until the lamb meat comes off the bone!
If cooking on a stove top; cook the same way as the oven method and cover and simmer till the meat is tender and comes off the bones easily, the amount of cooking time will be roughly the same as cooking it in the oven and it will also depend on the heat that the lamb was cooking like extremely low simmer will require longer cooking time.
TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS: Lamb shanks can be two or more in quantity depending on the size of each shank provided you have approximately 1.5kg in total weight. Slow cooking can be done in an electric slow cooker or simply in an oven or a stove top. Lamb shanks have incredible rich flavor and slow cooking it in a slow cooker means you don’t have to attend to it, plus you can leave the cooker on overnight and have your meal ready for breakfast if you wish, or leave the temperature setting on ‘warm/low’ till needed and free up your valuable time to entertain your lunch guests. Usually the slow cookers have 3 settings, high, low or automatic. High setting will most definitely cook it faster so expect your meat to be cooked sooner than later. Cooking on a stove top for long time means there is one less cook top for you to cook other dishes for your guests so, the oven may be an ideal solution for slower cooking and you can reduce the temperature of the oven even lower and let it cook away for longer if you prefer. In the west we use the oven and the slow cooker much more during our colder months as these appliances can also warm the house with the aroma of delicious food cooking, that’s just so inviting!
I have given this dish my ‘twist’ by fusing East and West. The lamb will be spicy if your chili powder is spicy. The grated lemon skin and the herbs along with the cumin also bring out the flavours of the Middle East. When grating or slicing the skin off the lemon, be careful that you don’t take off too much of the white part of the skin underneath it because the white part of the skin can be bitter. Give this dish a try and be pleasantly surprised when the meat falls away from the bones. Any leftovers make great fillings for flat breads like chapatti and naan, with a dash of plain yoghurt, or simply make delicious sandwiches for your family to enjoy!
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