2 tblsp coriander seeds
1tbsp cumin seeds
1 tblsp black mustard seeds
4 cloves garlic
5cm piece root ginger
2 red chillies
1 tblsp ground turmeric
1 tblsp smoked paprika
1 tblsp garam marsala
2 tblsp rapeseed oil
3 tblsp tomato purée
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
4 lamb shanks
25g chopped fresh coriander
Prep to Cook: Large deep sided casserole dish, small frying pan, long handled spoon, basin, chopping board, vegetable knife, garlic crusher, measuring jug, food processor. Pre-heat oven 160?C Gas Mark 3
Prep: Toast the coriander, cumin and mustard seeds in the shallow frying pan until they start to pop.
In a food processor, put the peeled ginger, de-seeded chillies, turmeric, rapeseed oil, and a pinch of salt. Process to a smooth paste.
Tip the paste into a roasting tin and mix with the two tins of chopped tomatoes and the tomato purée and all the stock.
Place the lamb shanks into the spiced mixture and spoon it over the shanks.
Put the lid on or cover with tin foil and cook for an hour and a half.
Uncover and cook for a further hour.
Serve with chopped fresh coriander leaves and some mint leaves alongside rice or potatoes.
Weekend cooking made easy – put this recipe to cook and go out for a walk. It is long slow cooking that will tenderise and spice up lamb shanks.
Cooks Know How: Long slow cooking is the best way to ensure really tender meat. Lamb shanks are ‘on the bone’ so have wonderful flavour and in this recipe the spice mix ensures a strong curry aroma and taste. Use of a range of spices makes this dish very special, spicy but not too hot.
Long slow cooking means keeping the temperature low, in this case 160?C or Gas Mark 3 which will gradually ‘denature’ the meat proteins making then tender. Moisture is also essential and the tinned tomatoes and stock are vital to create moist conditions for slow cooking. The fat in the meat will melt into the juices and the connective tissue will gradually break down allowing meat fibres to become tender and succulent. The first session of long slow cooking gives way to exposing the juices and the lamb shanks to oven heat. Now the Maillard reaction will occur on the outer part of the lamb shanks browning them and giving an incredible sweeter crust to the meat. Check the lamb shank bone is ‘loose’ by pulling and twisting it gently. If it appears to be easy to remove then the dish is fully cooked. The sauce should reduce once the foil is removed (an hour before the shanks are fully cooked) due to evaporation.
So much food science goes into meat cookery to ensure tender moist meat, not to mention the effect of heat in making the meat safe to eat. Lamb shanks will cook slowly to provide tender meat but at the same time will produce fat rendered from the joint which will need to be spooned off before serving.
The addition of vegetables would enrich the dish. Mushrooms, sweet potato or okra would all work well. Changing the cut of lamb would also work, shoulder of lamb replacing the lamb shanks.