This dish is fall off the bone meat, so soft, so delicious, cooked with minimum effort, but giving maximum results. As the meat is not fully submerged in the sauce, it gets a roasted feel to it as well as a stew vibe. The sauce is delicious, full of flavour, it's just a great dish.
I served it with Pilaf, a rice dish with onions, currants and pine nuts, it worked really well with it. I also made an Eggplant Yoghurt Sauce, as I had eggplants at home and I loved the sauce with the Ali Nazik I recently made.
I love stews that cook in the oven, it just makes life easier, after a little preparation, you pop it in the oven and dinner is cooked. The rice I cooked when I had about 20 minutes to go for the lamb to be cooked, just remember to soak the rice 30 minutes before you need to cook them.
This is an easy dish to make on the weekend, when you want to sit and relax, and dinner just cooks away while you watch a movie or read a book, or go for a walk, you get the idea.
For the Stew:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 lamb shanks, about 400-500g each
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400g tin diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
2 rosemary sprigs
3 fresh bay leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon vegeta
500ml boiling water
Salt and pepper, to taste
Turkish Spiced Pilaf:
300g basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled, halved, sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2-1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, to taste
small handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
small handful dill, chopped
2-3 tablespoons pine nuts
2-3 tablespoons currants
To serve eggplant yoghurt sauce, optional
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan forced.
Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat and add the lamb shanks. Cook for 6-8 minutes, turning the shanks so that they brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Reheat the pan over a low-medium heat and add the onion, carrot and celery. Mix well and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic, mix well, for 20-30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, stir through for a further 30 seconds.
Tip in the tomatoes, sugar, rosemary, bay leaves, lemon juice, vegeta and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Pour in the boiling water and mix everything together thoroughly. Return the lamb shanks to the pan, making sure the meat is three-quarters covered in the sauce. Cover and cook in the oven for 2-2½ hours (check every 15 minutes after 2 hours), or until the lamb falls off the bone at the touch of a fork.
Turkish Pilaf Rice: When you have about 45 minutes left of lamb cooking time. Soak the rice in plenty of cold water for 30 minutes, then drain.
In a medium saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and fry the onion for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the rice and toast in the oil. Add the ground cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir in the water. Bring to the boil, then immediately turn down the heat so you have a gentle simmer and put the lid on the pan. Cook for 10 minutes or until the water is just absorbed.
Turn off the heat, keep the lid on the pan, and leave to rest for 5 minutes before stirring through the chopped herbs, pine nuts and currants. Taste for seasoning and serve at once with the lamb stew.
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