Lamb shanks are just right for the arrival of winter.
Lamb shanks are just right for the arrival of winter.

RECIPE: Tempting lamb shanks the perfect winter dinner

LATELY we have decided every morning to prepare what we will have for dinner so, no matter what the day brings, there's food ready of an evening. This lamb shank recipe, which is simple to prepare, can cook all day in the oven or slow cooker and is super delicious and warming.

Lamb shanks with tomato and fennel pilaf:

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS: 3 tbs of vegetable oil 4 -6 lamb shanks 1 onion, roughly chopped 3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half 1 x 4cm large piece of ginger, peeled and grated 2 x 440g tin of crushed tomatoes 750ml of dry red wine 200ml of chicken stock 4 whole cloves 2 cardamom pods 2 tsp of coriander seeds 1 tsp of cumin seeds 1 cinnamon stick 1/4 cup of mint leaves, roughly chopped to serve Salt and freshly ground pepper.

Tomato and fennel pilaf: 1 cup of long grain basmati rice, soak in cold water for 30mins 1 onion, finely sliced ½ green capsicum, finely diced 4 mushrooms, finely sliced 1 tomato, diced 4 tbs oil 2 cups water Salt and white pepper. Spice paste: 1/4 cup of coconut oil 3 cloves of garlic A pinch of ground cinnamon 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated 1 1/2 tbs of fennel seeds 3 green chillies 1 tomato, chopped Water to blend. Mint yogurt: 250g of Greek natural yogurt ½ bunch of mint.

METHOD: Preheat oven to 160C. In a casserole dish, heat oil over medium to high heat on stove. Season lamb with salt and pepper then place into the dish to cook over moderately high heat until browned. Transfer to a bowl. Add onion to dish and cook until soft. Add garlic and ginger and cook for two minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and cook until thick. Add red wine and boil for three minutes. Add chicken stock, cloves, cardamom, coriander, cumin and cinnamon and bring to boil. Add lamb shanks and any juices. Place on lid and put in oven for two hours, turning once, until the meat is tender.

Transfer lamb to a bowl and cover with foil. Strain liquid into a large pot and skim off fat. Boil sauce over high heat until reduced to two cups - say 20 minutes - then season with salt and pepper. Add lamb to pot, cover and simmer over low heat until heated through.

In a fry pan over medium heat, add some oil then pilaf onion and saute for a minute. Add capsicum and mushroom. Cook on low heat for three minutes. Transfer to bowl for later.

Blend all ingredients for spice paste, with some water, until smooth. In a large pot, add spice paste, other chopped tomato and salt and cook for two minutes. Add pre-soaked rice to pan. Stir for a minute. Add two cups of water. Cook on high until water begins to boil. Cover and cook on medium for 10-12 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Add cooked onion and capsicum mix and stir.

Process mint and 2tbs of yogurt to form a paste. Stir this through remaining yogurt. To assemble, serve a generous amount of pilaf, with one or two shanks on top, spooning over some sauce and minted yogurt to the side.

Dan and Steph Mulheron won My Kitchen Rules in 2013.

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