On Friday evening I had the lovely Douglas over for dinner and Doctor Who. (We opted for The Claws of Axos, although, to be fair, we chatted throughout it – mostly a lot of very entertaining anecdotes from Douglas about Jacqueline Pearce!) I fancied another new recipe from the Persiana cook book that Alberto got me for my birthday. It’s a tasty recipe and I don’t often use lamb shanks so it was nice to do something different. It takes about 3 hours though so it’s not a quick option. The recipe says to cook in a large saucepan on the hob but I opted to use my tagine in the oven.
The recipe says to use ‘black garlic’ which it describes as ‘normal garlic that has been slow-cooked in the oven until deeply caramelised and jet black without being burnt.’ I wrapped a bulb of garlic in foil and roasted it for over an hour and used that – it seemed ok flavourwise, although the roasted bulbs were very sticky and soft which made peeling them difficult. I may have slightly over-roasted them.
2 large onions, roughly diced
3 teaspoons of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
4 lamb shanks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
6 large tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 black garlic cloves, bulbs peeled
Pre-heat the oven to 200.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Fry the onions for a couple of minutes, then add the dry spices and stir well.
Pop in the lamb shanks and brown on all sides, then fold the spice and onion mixture over them.
Season with salt and pepper, then add the bay leaves, thyme, chopped tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar. Pour in just enough water to cover the meat. Stir well to combine then bring to the boil.
Now – you can either a) turn the heat down and simmer it in the saucepan or b) do what I did and transfer it to a tagine and pop it in the oven for the requisite cooking time. I much prefer to cook these sort of recipes in a tagine if possible.
Regardless of which way you do it the dish needs to cook for two hours initially. If you’re cooking it on the hob in a saucepan then turn the heat down to a medium low, pop a lid on and stir every half hour or so to ensure that it doesn’t stick. If cooking in the oven then you probably only need to stir it once.
After two hours, add the black (roasted) garlic, stirring it well into the sauce. Add a little more water if necessary and cook for a further hour.
Delicious. The tomatoes, spices and onions form a rich, thick sauce and the long cooking time means that the meat just falls off the bone.
I served this with sweet potato mash with a dash of ground cumin and a dollop of Greek yoghurt to make it creamy.