06/08/2006

Lamb Shanks with Mediterranean Salad

Shanks are the tibia, the bone below the knee.

Lamb shanks are a thrifty cut. Braised whole, you're left with meat falling off the bone, deep, flavoursome and beautifully fatty.

Long, slow cooking is the key ...

I use a tagine with the shanks standing up, held in place by the conical top, sitting in just a little water which rises and condenses in the tagine - pretty much, a primitive pressure cooker.

Simple! Just put the shanks in, add water and set on a low heat for the day ...

Feel free to pep up the dish a little with ground coriander, cumin, some chilli, maybe onions and garlic - the sauce can be blended and passed through a sieve to make a really sumptuous gravy.

Plate up! I like lamb shanks with a simple salad of tomato, cucumber, olives (in brine) and cubes of feta. Garnish with coriander.

This combination gives a few offsets to the fattiness of the meat, but again, feel free to serve up with some vegetables and pour over the gravy made from the braising stock.

Lamb goes very well with deep greens - collard, mustard greens, kale, cavolo nero, spinach or samphire. That strong pack of iron compliments the meat perfectly.

For colour, carrot or swede are perfect. In fact, to accompany the simple salad above, ribbons of carrot and courgette would work very well.

Ideas! Ideas!

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