Friday, September 21, 2012

How to Make Lamb Stew, Using Lamb Shanks

Here's are directions to make a very, very flavorful lamb stew using lamb shanks, a third way to cook lamb (following the two suggestions I offered yesterday). In lieu of shanks, you can substitute stew meat. Sorry that there's no photo, but I haven't made this since the end of last winter. Just visualize flavor sitting in a bowl in front of you.

In pan or pot (depending on how many lamb shanks you are making) heat olive oil. Season shanks with salt and pepper and brown as many sides as you want (working in batches, if necessary). Remove shanks to bowl. In same pan or pot, cook chopped onion and carrot in lamb fat, stirring occasionally. Scrape off any lamb bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan, using a little liquid (water, stock, wine, etc.) to help, if necessary. Once onions have started to soften, add minced garlic and ginger and stir for about 1 minute. Then add spices (see below) and stir for about 30 seconds. Here are the real amounts for the spices, but I usually just eyeball; if you don't have one of the spices, it's not the end of the world.

1½ teaspoon ground coriander
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground ginger 
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Add lamb shanks and any juices back to pan/pot, and, figuring 4 lamb shanks, add 1 cup of strained tomatoes and 2½ cups of water or stock. If you want to add some red wine, add about ½ cup. Bring to a boil, return to a simmer and cook, mostly covered, until lamb is tender, about 1½ hours. Make sure to occasionally turn over lamb shanks, so they cook evenly. Sauce should gradually thicken. If shanks are tender but sauce too thin, remove shanks and continue to cook and reduce sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice (if desired) at end of cooking.

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