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Greg's braised lamb shanks
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In July 2011 I found a plethora of recipes for lamb shanks, something I had never eaten before, so Yvonne bought some—for $4 each, a king's ransom for such a piece of meat. On 12 July 2011 I went back to look at the recipes, and they had shrunk to a single recipe that didn't look very typical. So out looking for other recipes, of which there are not very many. Found one with Moroccan aspirations in Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion, a book for which I have so far found no use, and another surprisingly similar one in Paul Bocuse's “La cuisine du marché”, though the latter was for veal shanks. Strangely, Bocuse wanted to cook the carrots for 2 hours, by which time they would have been purée.

In the end, I made a compromise between the two. While I still think that Bocuse wanted to cook the vegetables too long, I was also concerned that cooking them in a tagine for 30 minutes wouldn't be enough. Even 60 minutes seems to be on the low side, so next time I'll do it for 80 minutes. Here's the result:


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Ingredients

The quantities here are what I'll do next time based on the experience of the first attempt.

quantity       ingredient       step
250 g       chick peas       1
4       lamb shanks (about 1200 g)       2
      olive oil for frying       2
400 g       onions       3
100 ml       white wine       5
800 g       tinned tomatoes       6
40 g       tomato paste       6
      bouquet garni       6
150 ml       water       6
2       stock cubes       6
15 g       salt (check this quantity!)       6
500 g       potatoes       7
500 g       carrots       7

Preparation

Prepare this dish in a Tagine. The cooking times are:

Meat       2½ hours
Vegetables       80 minutes
Chick peas       90 minutes alone, 30 minutes in tagine

With the exception of the chick peas, start 3 hours before serving.

  1. Soak the chick peas overnight, then cook without salt for 90 minutes.

  2. Brown shanks in the oil.

  3. While browning the shanks, chop the onions into rough cubes about 1 cm on a side.

  4. When the shanks are brown, turn down the heat, add the onions and fry until translucent. Do not allow to brown significantly.

  5. Add wine and bring to the boil. Reduce somewhat.

  6. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, stock cubes, bouquet garni and salt. Bring back to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

  7. Peel potatoes and carrots and cut into pieces about 30 to 50 g in size. Arrange around the meat:


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  8. Simmer for 50 minutes, then add the chick peas.

  9. Cook for a further 30 minutes. Serve in the tagine.


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