Healthful & creamy lamb shanks

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Ingredients

Serves 3-5

 

  • 3-5 lamb shanks
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 fennel, diced
  • 1/4 celeriac, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, end removed and bashed with the back of a knife
  • 2 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150g red split lentils
  • 400ml light coconut milk
  • 400ml water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
  • 1 handful coriander stalks, chopped (leaves removed and kept for garnishing)

You will need a large oven proof dish with a lid and a hand blender.

Timings

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 50 minutes

Healthful & creamy lamb shanks

Slow cooking and deep flavours, for me, epitomise winter food. Here, warming cloves and cardamom pods balance with the freshness of the ginger, lemongrass and coriander. The acidity of the onions, fennel and celeriac is needed to counteract the smooth creaminess of the coconut milk, and the lentils disintegrate and add body. Finally, the juices from the lamb and thickness from the collagen add to the flavour and as it cooks, the coconut milk tenderises the meat. All these layers just in one pot. If you have any leftover sauce, it’s delicious as soup the next day.

Method

Preheat the oven to 160.

Season the lamb shanks well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat and (using tongs) brown the shanks all over, in batches if need be.

Remove the lamb shanks to a plate. Turn down the heat to low and add the onions, fennel, celeriac, garlic, cloves, cardamom pods, lemon grass and bay leaves. SautΓ© for 10 minutes, taking care not to burn, until the vegetables are soft and translucent.

Once the vegetables are cooked, add them to the ovenproof dish. Stir in the lentils, coconut milk, water, vegetable bouillon and coriander stalks and bring to a gentle boil. Finally, add in the lamb shanks, fitting them as snugly as possible.

Bring back to a gentle simmer, put the lid on, and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours 30 minutes or until tender. You can tell when the meat is tender as it will fall away from the bone.

Remove the lamb shanks and put on a plate to one side. Remove the bay leaves, cardamom pods and cloves from the sauce and discard. Using a hand blender, blitz the sauce until smooth. Place the lamb shanks back in the creamy sauce and serve. I like to shred the meat for the children and Jason and I eat the shanks off the bone. Depending on the size of the shanks, you may need one per person or they may be large enough to share.

Serve with basmati rice and green vegetables.

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When I create recipes, every ingredient needs a ‘purpose’. If you are learning to substitute ingredients in meals so you don’t have to rush out to the shops the next time you are missing something, try to think what might be the ‘purpose’ of that ingredient in the recipe and what you already have that could replace it.”

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