Tuesday, June 26

Lamb Shanks Braised with Chickpeas and Mint

I have been meaning to cook this dish for some time now. It is a variant from the Eagle cookbook. The Eagle was one of the first gastropubs (a now unpopular term) but was groundbreaking in it's time as they shunned the standard 1980's pub fare of scampi and chicken in a basket in favour of food influenced the middle east and the med. The lamb season is presently in full flow and shanks should be relatively cheap - if indeed anything is cheap these days!

2 quality lamb shanks - I used Duchy Organic
1 tin of quality chopped tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and skinned
Saffron - 1 pinch
Dried mint - 1 level tbsp
Red wine - 1 small glass
Cooked chickpeas - 300g
Leek - 1, cleaned and finely chopped
Carrot - 1 large, peeled and finely chopped
1 small onion - peeled and finely chopped
Celery - 1 stick, finely chopped
Olive oil - a slug
Bay leaf - 2
1 small rosemary sprig
Fresh parsley - roughly chopped

In the oil, brown the lamb shanks all over then transfer to a slow cooker bowl or another suitable braising vessel. In the same pan gently fry the leek, celery, onion, carrot and garlic until softened - add this to the slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce by half. Pour the wine into the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients and a good season of salt and pepper. Braise gently in the slow cooker (or covered at 150c in the oven) for 3 hours or so until the lamb is meltingly tender but still on the bone. Toss in the chickpeas for the last 20 mins of cooking. Check the seasoning and finish with the parsley.

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