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Since I’m in the land down under, I thought it would be rude not cook at least one Aussie lamb dish.  The morning was blustery with a chill in the air, so what better heart-warming grub than braised lamb shanks?  Slow cooked until the meat is melt-in-the-mouth-tender and barely clinging to the bone, the heady aromas permeated every nook and cranny of the apartment until my belly was audibly rumbling…

 

I decided on a Mediterranean twist with tomatoes and red wine, throwing in a handful of olives and anchovies to melt into the sauce and give it a salty kick that is balanced with fresh herbs, lemon peel, chillies and the smoky charred aubergine.

 

3 hours later and the ultimate comfort food, a little taste of sunshine on a wintery day, is ready to serve with a mountain of sweet potato mash and just-wilted spinach.

 

RECIPE: MEDITERRANEAN BRAISED LAMB SHANKS WITH SMOKY AUBERGINE

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 lamb shanks

2 red onions

1 head of garlic, peeled

800g of chopped tomatoes

A more than generous glug of red wine

A splash of balsamic vinegar

A teaspoon of dark brown sugar

A couple of sprigs of rosemary and thyme

3-4 shavings of lemon rind

2 tablespoons of kalamata olives

4 anchovy fillets

2-3 dried chillies

A handful of chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1 teaspoon sumac

A sprinkling of sea salt and generous grinding of pepper

1-2 aubergines (depending on their size)

INSTRUCTIONS: Brown the lamb shanks on all sides in a heavy based casserole dish before adding in the garlic cloves and onion.  Allow the garlic and onion to start caramelising before adding in the rest of the ingredients, except for the aubergine.  Bring to a simmer and then transfer the covered dish to a moderate oven for 3 hours. 

Pop the whole aubergine in the oven along with the casserole until it is charred and near collapsing.  Depending on the size of your aubergine this should take 45 minutes to an hour.  Take the aubergine out of the oven, slice it in half and scoop out the smoky flesh, discarding any seeds and the skin.  Add the aubergine flesh to the braising lamb for the remainder of the cooking.  You’ll know when the lamb is ready as the sauce will have thickened and the meat will be tender and falling off the bone.  Serve with sumac and roast garlic laced sweet potato mash laced and wilted spinach and enjoy!  Oh and don’t forget not to let the remainder of the wine go to waste…

 

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