On Monday might I fancied a lamb shank. This was partly inspired (oh, alright, completely inspired) by the fact Alberto had a couple of lamb shanks on Sunday evening and it made me realise that I a) hadn’t had one for a while and b) that I really fancied one. Fortunately there was one, lonely looking shank on the butchery counter at Sainsbury’s. Ideal.
I cobbled this recipe together to create something with a Moroccan feel, but without following any particular recipe. I was only cooking for me, so it’s one lamb shank and the recipe is scaled for one. You can easily scale it up though. I cooked it for about two and a bit hours in the end. I did it all in a large saucepan on hob as it didn’t seem worth getting the tagine out just for one shank.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 lamb shank
1 440ml tin of chopped tomatoes
2 medium red onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, two peeled and sliced, two left unpeeled and dropped into the stew
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
400ml of lamb stock
1 220ml tin of chickpeas
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and fry the chopped onions and garlic for 5-6 minutes, until softened and starting to colour.
Add in the dry spices and stir well to ensure that the onion is well coated.
Increase the heat, pop in the lamb shank and fry for 3 minutes or so, until browned all over.
Add the tomatoes and enough of the stock so that the shank is almost completely covered. Stir well to combine. Add the thyme sprigs and balsamic vinegar, season with salt and black pepper and bring to the boil. Then turn the heat down low and simmer for about two hours.
Check regularly to ensure that the stew is not losing too much liquid, adding more water if required, and turning the lamb occasionally if it is not entirely submerged.
After two hours add the chickpeas, stir in well and continue to cook for a further half an hour.
The sauce should be reasonably thick but not too dry, and nicely tasty with the combination of spices and the richness of the balsamic vinegar. I served it with buttery cous-cous and roasted butternut squash chunks.