Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks with Fava Bean Puree
These lamb shanks are inspired by my recent trip to the Greek Islands. I've used dried oregano, port wine (easier to find than the famous Santorinian Vinsanto dessert wine) and fava beans, again a signature ingredient of Santorini. These Greek flavours are a nice change up from your regular lamb shanks and remind me of a wonderful time away.
Now that I'm in my 30s, the way I travel is very different from how I used to in my early 20s. Gone are the days of youth hostels, late night clubbing and shopping in night markets, these days, my idea of a good holiday is a luxury hotel, relaxation, and an early bed time! #nanna My latest holiday was in Greece where upon my return I opened my suitcase to find it full of food! I had all sorts of treasures: spices, nuts, sauces and jams. Who have I become?! What happened to the suitcase full of Bintang singlets, counterfeit DVDs and regrets of my youth?! How times change. Food is now at the forefront of my holidays and actually my daily life. I am the woman who spends breakfast thinking about lunch, and lunch thinking about dinner! Now when I'm travelling, I'm tasting and absorbing, taking mental notes of flavours I can try out in my cooking at home.
“It was in Santorini that I dragged hubby to a cooking class to learn about the local ingredients and techniques. We were shown this fava bean (aka yellow split pea) puree which captured my heart. I'd never come across it before, it was smooth and creamy and light yet earthy and I thought it would be the perfect accompaniment to lamb shanks with a Greek inspired sauce.”
Fava bean puree is similar in flavour to a hummus, and you can serve it cold as a dip or warm as a side for meat. I have to admit, I'd never cooked beans or lentils from dried before, it's not something we really ate growing up in a Thai household and it seemed like a lot of work. Seeing it for myself, it really isn't. Simply throw the beans in a bowl and cover with water. From there you just leave them alone until you're ready to cook. This has opened up my eyes to the possibilities of dried legumes. Stay tuned for the results of my upcoming experiments.
Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks with Fava Bean Puree an original recipe by Kimberley Kells
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Serves: 4 Adults
Oil for frying (I use Rice Bran Oil)
4 Lamb Shanks
2 Stalks of Celery, finely diced
1 Carrot, finely diced
1 Carrot, sliced
1 Onion, finely diced
1 Onion, sliced
2 Cloves of Garlic, finely diced
2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon of dried Oregano
1 Cup of Port
800mL Beef Stock (or enough to cover the meat)
250g dried Fava Beans aka Yellow Split Peas, soaked in water overnight
2 Bay Leaves
100mL Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Step 1- In a large heavy based pot (I like cast iron), heat a glug of oil over medium heat and brown the lamb shanks, seasoned with salt and pepper on all sides. Remove from the pot and set aside.
Step 2- In the same pot, saute the finely diced: celery, carrot, onion and garlic until soft. You may need to add some more oil.
Step 3- Add the tomato puree and oregano and stir through to cook it out. Deglaze with the port and let it bubble until mostly evaporated.
Step 4- Return the lamb shanks to the pot and pour in enough beef stock so that the shanks are covered in liquid.
Step 5- Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover with lid and simmer until tender and falling off the bone. This will take between 2 and 2.5 hours. I like to check on it every half hour or so and just flip and rotate the shanks to ensure even cooking.
Step 6- Meanwhile you can prepare the puree: In a pot over medium heat, saute the sliced: onion and carrots in some oil until soft. Then add the soaked fava beans, bay leaves and enough water to cover. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until mushy. Remove the bay leaves.
Step 7- Using a stick blender, whiz the fava beans with the extra virgin olive oil and plenty of salt until smooth. Keep warm with a lid on the stove until you are ready to serve.
Step 8- Remove the cooked lamb shanks from the pot and boil the sauce rapidly to reduce until syrupy or to your preference. Season with salt and pepper. Return the shanks to the pot to warm through. Serve with the fava bean puree.