Lamb is my favourite meat and everyone who knows me or follows the blog, knows this.
A friend of mine, Lindi, asked some time back, if I had a lamb shank recipe. And as much as I love lamb, I didn’t. I’ve actually never cooked lamb shank before! I’ve eaten it plenty times. And love it, but just never made it myself. I’m actually surprised myself, but I think the huge portion sizes might have something to do with that, subconsciously.
So I’ve decided to give it a try. Principles based on the similar meats I’ve cooked before. We are using 2 cooking techniques today, brining and braising. Brining is marinating meat in salty water, not to add flavour but to add moisture. NB: not retain but add. Braising is a form of moisture cooking, where food is cooked slowly in liquid over low temperature. NB: this now retains moisture. I’ll be brining and braising the lamb, maximum moisture!
I’m braising with a sweet liquid, alcohol free cooking in our house these days. I’ve used pineapple juice for my gammon before, but I don’t seem to have any 100% fruit juice in the house so that’s a no go. But I do have a 2l of coke zero in the fridge, so I’ll use this. I hope it works out, wish me luck!
What do you need? Serves 3
3x Lamb shank
1,5 litres of coke zero
Spices- 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cardammom seeds, 1tsp mustard seeds, 1 tbs black & red whole peppercorns, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1tsp chili flakes, 1 whole red chili.
2 x Beef cubes
2 tbs of duck fat
1 tbs of corn flour
5 cloves of garlic
5 slices of ginger
1 tbs of flora margarine
1 tbs of plain cream cheese
What to do?
Start a day before by brining your lamb shank. Dissolve a cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of salt in 2 cups of warm water. When dissolved, add in 1,5 l of cold water. Then add in your lamb shanks, making sure they’re submerged fully. Keep in the fridge for 24 hours. After 24 hrs, you should see the lamb looking darker in colour.
Then out of the brining liquid, into a large pot with 3 cloves of garlic, 5 slices of ginger, 2 cinnamon sticks, all the spices, 2 stock cubes, 2 tbs of duck fat or any lard, and 1,5 l of coke zero. On high heat until it starts boiling, then lower heat to level 4 on a standard electric stove. Let this cook slowly over 2- 3 hours.
2 hours into the lamb cooking, start with your garlic mash. Peel 6 potatoes, chop them and cook in salty water. My principle to determine how many potato for mash, is 2 per serving. Rather over cater than under cater, as someone’s bound to request seconds…😉
When cooked through, strain the water. Onto the potatoes add 1 tbs of cream cheese, 1 tsp of flora margarine, 2 chopped cloves of garlic and mix well and mash smoothly. I absolutely love the smell and taste of garlic so I don’t bother softening it. But if you don’t, you can sautee the garlic in a pan with the margarine and when soft, add into the mash.
And voila, our dinner is ready. Serve with either some greens or sautéed veggies, I’m doing lettuce, radish salad and an Italian whole tomato( not dressed, to let the lamb shank sauce stand out).
Our shank is so soft and tender, the brining and slow cooking have added and retained all the moisture. Look at how the brining maintained the beautiful pink colour of the shank inside( on pic below). And we have the sweetness from the coke, savoury from the stock and infused brining liquid on the shank, spice from the chilli and it works!! 😊 Whole family happy, especially husband, so I think it’s safe to call this a success. Yay, I’m happy😃.
So Lindiwe, try this recipe and tweak to your taste buds but I’m sure you’ll love it. Good luck, friend. Sorry it took so long…