We've had a spate of freaky, super blustery weather last week after having an unusually mild start to the winter. Apart from the weather being worrying and disturbing, it wreaked havoc on tv aerials and satellite dishes.
It feels so strange not to have tv even if I am not actively watching most of the time. I just need to have the tv on all the time because that has become the normal sound of my surroundings. Not having tv suddenly made me think of doing something. It just brought me into pondering how it was before the advent of electronics. People had a lot more time on their hands and a lot of imagination in their brains.
When I have free time, I do what I do best...cook. Lots of time means I can make slow food.
I know that lamb shanks can look like a meal Wilma would serve to Fred Flintstone. Yes, it is that sort of rustic food. The sort of food that tastes so good because it's made with the tougher cuts of meat that have more taste in them. It takes a gentle slow braise to coax out all the flavours and falling apart texture that's to die for. It is well worth the wait, I assure you. It is just the perfect meal for a chilly night. The aroma alone will make you feel warm already.
Lamb goes so well with herbs and spices. It develops a different taste as it cooks and gives as well as takes the flavour of the sauce it is cooked in. This lamb stew has olives, lemon and cinnamon. All these combine to give an amazing fragrance. It is perfect with couscous, mashed or boiled potatoes. Make it one of the dishes to warm your home this winter.
4 lamb shanks
2 tbsps. butter
2 tbsps. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
2 tsps. grated ginger
2 medium onions
3 anchovy fillets
2 tbsps. tomato paste
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. sherry
about 20 olives (I used pimiento stuffed olives)
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 c. of beef or lamb stock
salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 350° F/ 180° C.
Season the lamb shanks with 1 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp. of ground black pepper.
Heat up a frying pan and melt 2 tbsps. of butter and add 2 tbsps. of olive oil. Sear the lamb shanks until browned. Take out of the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, sauté the garlic for 2 minutes, then add in the onions and ginger and sauté until the onions are softened and transluscent. Add in the anchovy fillets and fry until they melt into the onions. Add the tomato paste, sugar, sherry , olives, lemon, cinnamon stick and 1 1/2 c. of beef or lamb stock or water. Return the lamb shanks to the pan and bring to a boil.
Transfer to a baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the lamb is very tender. Correct the seasonings. Skim off excess fat then transfer to a serving dish.
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