Archie missed the opening steps of this recipe as he was out on a date (!) in the afternoon, but he soon came home to help and discreetly wreak his trademark havoc.
This is a truly lovely dish. I cook the lamb for three hours, sealed in a baking dish, almost steaming in its own juices. The result is meat which is beyond tender and virtually melting. I use lamb shanks as they are a cheap and very flavoursome cut at my butchers. Don’t be put off by the long cooking time, this is a wonderfully easy recipe to prepare and cook. Once the lamb is in the oven, you only need to check it a couple of times and it always looks impressive when it is cooked.
As the lamb is so soft, we have been serving this for Archie since very early on, probably around 7 or 8 months. He has always enjoyed cumin as a spice and its gentle warmth is particularly welcome on these cold winter evenings.
Slow-cooked lamb shank, mashed potatoes and green beans
Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 3 hours.
This served 3 of us but could easily serve 4.
2 good size lamb shanks
3 cloves of garlic
1tbsp of cumin seeds (if you do not have a pestle and mortar, you can use powdered cumin).
A pinch of smoked paprika
A pinch of turmeric
1 tsp of rock salt (optional)
1 tbsp of olive oil
3 large potatoes
250g green beans
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/320°F
- Crush together the spices, the garlic and the salt.
- Add the olive oil and mix into a paste.
- Put the lamb in an oven dish and cover it with the spice rub.
- Pour in a good glass of water (200ml) and cover the baking tin with two layers of silver foil, ensuring that the tin is completely airtight.
- Put the baking tin in the oven. After an hour, take it out and baste the lamb with the juices in the pan, adding a little water if it is starting to look dry. Seal the tin tightly again, cook for a further hour and baste the lamb again, scraping the bottom of the tin to get all the flavour into the juices. Cover the tin again and put back in the oven for a final hour.
- With about 30 minutes to go, peel the potoatoes and cut them into small cubes and cook them for 20 minutes in boiling water or until the pieces are fully tender. While the potatoes are cooking, wash the green beans and either steam them for 5 or 6 minutes, or boil them in some shallow boiling water.
- Drain the potatoes and put them back in the saucepan for a minute, allowing some of the moisture to “steam off”, then mash them until smooth and mix in a little milk (or butter or olive oil if you prefer) and season with salt and pepper if you want to.
- After three hours cooking time, take the lamb out of the oven. Scrape the base of the tin again to get all the flavours into the juices (at this point you may wish to skim the top layer of fat from the juices using a spoon).
- Serve the lamb on the mashed potatoes and drizzle with the cooking juices.