Slow-cooked lamb with dates
SERVES 4-6 PREP AND COOK TIME 4 HOURS
½ cup (75g) plain flour 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons salt ¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil 8 small (2.4kg) Frenched lamb shanks 1 bunch fresh coriander 5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, sliced 2 medium (300g) onions, halved 4 cloves garlic, peeled 2 small fresh red chillies, stems removed 1 litre (4 cups) beef stock 2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes 1 cup (230g) pitted dried dates, chopped coarsely ¼ cup (35g) slivered almonds, toasted ¼ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves couscous, to serve 1 Combine the flour, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and salt in a shallow dish. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large flameproof casserole or saucepan over medium-high heat. Toss the lamb shanks, one by one, into the flour mixture to coat thoroughly. Shake off the excess flour. Cook four of the shanks in the pan for about 5 minutes or until browned all over. Remove from the pan. Repeat with another 1 tablespoon of the oil and the remaining shanks. Reserve the excess flour mixture. Wipe out the pan with paper towel and reduce the heat to low. 2 Meanwhile, wash the coriander well. Scrape the roots. Refrigerate the leaves for another use. Place the coriander roots and stems, ginger, onion, garlic and chillies into the bowl of a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. Place the remaining oil in the pan and add the coriander mixture. Stir with a spatula for about 3 minutes or until mixture dries out, starts to crackle and becomes fragrant. 3 Whisk the reserved flour mixture with ¼ cup of the beef stock in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in remaining stock. Whisk the stock mixture into the pan. Stir in the tomatoes and dates until combined. Return the lamb to the pan and make sure all the meat is submerged. Place the lid on the pan and bring just to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Remove lid; simmer gently for 2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Rearrange the shanks periodically to make sure they cook evenly and stir the base of the pan to prevent sticking and burning. Once the lamb is cooked, if the sauce needs to thicken, remove the shanks and simmer the liquid, uncovered, until thickened as much as you like. Season to taste. 4 Scatter lamb with almonds and mint leaves. Serve with couscous, if desired.
Suitable to freeze. Not suitable to microwave.