Lamb Shank Redemption

Today's recipe: Lamb shanks with olives & preserved lemon
The lamb shanks after the meal
Sigh, it ain't easy being me. Just this week I had to (1) get help opening the boot/trunk of my rental car – would you have known to press the VW logo at the top down to get the bottom up? And (2) did you know that you have to press the central lock button to get the petrol/gas tank to open? And (3) did you know that if your ticket says South Terminal, your flight probably isn't leaving from North Terminal? Groan.

And it is equally not easy being me when it comes to food and blogging. As you can see from the photo, everyone really enjoyed the shanks in the following recipe. Another thing that you can also make out from this photo is that I forgot to photograph the food before eating it... Sigh. Sighing, by the by, is something I do really well at all times.

Now that I have finally made it back from my third trip to England this year (thank goodness there is a shuttle service between North and South Gatwick terminals), I have decided to FINALLY blog again. Don't look so surprised. This is going to become a regular thing. Now I can hear YOU sighing.

Sometimes I forget to take photographs and sometimes I forget to write down the recipes immediately, thinking that “I'll remember what I put in and how I did it in 6 months time”. I consider remembering such details after 6 minutes a major achievement these days. Today's recipe is a bit of a cheat because this is someone else's recipe. Quieten down over there – do you want the recipe this century or don't you!?

Lamb shanks are one of my absolute favorite things and done this way they were no exception to my rule. With 22 lambs and 6 adults needing eating, I am becoming somewhat of a professional in the lamb department. The recipe says 1 ¾ hour cooking time, and this was exactly right – it just fell off the bone. I added the pulp of the lemon to the dish right at the beginning, but other than that, I stuck pretty much to the recipe. Deelicious is all I can say.

Lamb shanks with olives & preserved lemon

Lamb shanks with olives & preserved lemon
Serves 8

100ml olive oil
25g butter
8 small lamb shanks
2 large onions , coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves , finely chopped
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
good pinch saffron
800ml lamb stock, chicken stock or water
2 small or 1 large preserved lemon
200g green olives , drained and rinsed
2 tbsp (approx) flat-leaf parsley and coriander

1. Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large casserole or frying pan and brown the lamb on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add the onions to the pan and cook for a minute, then add the garlic, spices and season (go easy on the salt as the preserved lemons might make it salty later on) and cook for another minute.
2. Transfer the onions, garlic, spices and browned lamb shanks to a large roasting tin. Pour over the stock or water. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 1 3/4 hours, stirring from time to time and turning the shanks over.
3. Cut the lemons in half, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and discard, cut the rind into shreds. Add the olives and the lemon to the dish. Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes. The lamb should be meltingly tender and coming away from the bone. If there is a lot of juice, remove the shanks from the roasting tin and put the tin over a high heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the juices have reduced by half. Season. Add the herbs and serve.

Preserved lemons
Look for Belazu preserved lemons (in Waitrose, Sainsbury's and some delis), which are quite small. If you're using your own homemade preserved lemons or larger bought ones, you'll only need one.
Recipe from olive magazine, January 2007.

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