I love this stuff. Imagine if I had moved an apostrophe in “Idiots’” above. Then I would be saying, in a self-deprecating way, that I am an imbecile and that this is my guide to Oriental Lamb Shanks with Sauce. But, I’m not saying that. I am saying that this is a recipe which any fool, klutz or cretin has the wherewithal to prepare. If you don’t believe me or if you are still doubting your own prowess in the kitchen department, read on my friend, read on…
I may be many things, but an idiot I am not. Would someone so encumbered bring something this tasty to you? I doubt it in the same way that I don’t doubt my righteousness in cooking this. Lamb shanks continue to be undervalued. The shank can take on lots of additional flavour from Oriental ingredients without being overwhelmed. In this case, the slow cooking produces a wonderfully tender piece of lamb with the added benefit of huge flavour and a delightfully complementary sauce. The short ingredients list is a bonus too.
- 2 lamb shanks
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 5cm of ginger
- 1 red chilli
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 250 ml of good chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons of Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
Heat a cast iron frying pan to medium. Add the peppercorns and toast them until they darken in colour and give off a lovely earthy fragrance. Remove them from the pan and grind in a mortar.
Add a little oil to the pan and brown the lamb shanks. Bash the garlic and chop roughly. Do likewise with the ginger. Roughly chop the chilli.
Add all the seasoning ingredients to a casserole dish. Add the lamb shanks and turn them in the mixture to coat. Sprinkle the Sichuan pepper on top. Place a lid on the casserole and pop this into a 170ºC oven for three and a half hours to four hours. After an hour or so, turn the shanks and baste them with the sauces. Repeat every half hour or so.
When the lamb is cooked (You will know it is cooked because your neighbours will have called in to find the source of the lovely cooking aromas) the meat will be very tender and will be in danger of falling off the bones. Turn the oven off. Gently lift the lamb from the sauce and place on a plate in the cooling oven. Put the casserole on the stovetop and bring the sauce to a boil. This should thicken quite rapidly. Strain the sauce and remove the layer of fat from the surface (I use a separator). Serve the shanks with your choice of rice / noodles / potatoes and be sure to pour over plenty of the sauce. The lamb takes on lots of the flavours and the sauce brings them to life in mouth-watering, “feed me more” kind of way. I have to highly recommend this both for the perceived improvement in your IQ and for the amazing flavours.
Footnote on idiocy; If you really are an idiot, you can elevate yourself to “approaching average intelligence” or at worst “he/she may be a dolt but he/she sure knows how to cook”. So, preparing this will be good for your reputation either way. Give it a go.