Spiced Mutton Shanks
Slow braised mutton or lamb shanks with Persian spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ras el hanout), rosewater, onions, stock and fresh bay leaves for a truly Arabian flavoured meal.
- 4 whole mutton or lamb shanks, French trimmed
- 2 tablespoons ras el hanout or:
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Pinch of saffron threads
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- 2 teaspoons rosewater
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 600ml hot chicken stock
- Zest of 1 orange
- Fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped mint leaves, to garnish
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, to garnish
- In a large plastic food bag mix the spices (except the saffron) with a little salt. Add the mutton or lamb shanks, coat well, seal and marinate in the fridge for 1 hour or, if time allows, overnight.
- Put the saffron threads in a small bowl with the lime zest and juice, rosewater and 100ml warm water. Set aside to infuse for 10 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a large flameproof pot over a medium heat. Add the shanks (two at a time) and cook for 5 minutes, or until nicely browned all over. Remove and set aside on a plate, then brown the remaining shanks.
- Add the onions to the pot and cook under a moderate heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft and lightly coloured. Add stock, saffron mixture, half the orange zest, thyme and bay leaves.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C Fan, Gas Mark 4.
- Return the shanks to the pot, bring to the boil, turn off the heat and cover.
- Transfer the pot to the oven and cook for 2-3 hours or until the meat falls away from the bone. 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time add the chickpeas and continue to cook.
- Garnish with the herbs and the remaining orange zest. Serve with basmati rice or flatbreads and either a tomato and red onion salad or seasonal vegetables.