Pomegranate braised lamb shanks with creamy leek and potato

This recipe is heavily inspired by Danielle’s Pomegranate ginger saffron braised lamb neck on Habeas Brulee.

But it’s made with lamb shanks.

And the method is a little different.

And I was out of beef stock.

shanks 01

Here’s what happened:

It was my partner’s birthday on Thursday, so I went to the Fyshwick Markets to pick up some steaks from the organic butcher, and I noticed they had lamb shanks, which are probably my favourite cut of meat, so I grabbed four. I didn’t get home until 6.30ish, so I made the steaks for the birthday dinner, and put the lamb shanks in the fridge to cook on the weekend.

But a week or two before that, I was working at Oxfam one afternoon, and I took my lunch break at about 3pm, and went to the Italian cafe/deli place in the Canberra Centre, and as I was eating my pumpkin and chick pea pie and drinking my coffee, I spotted pomegranate molasses on the shelves, and they haven’t had any in months, so I bought a bottle, and since then I’ve been thinking about what to use it in. So when I got the lamb shanks, I knew they would have to be cooked with the pomegranate molasses somehow or another, and the other night I was skimming through the Habeas Brulee archives for inspiration.

Now, earlier in the week I’d told my friend I’d bake her a cake if she got into the gold and silver smithing course she was applying for at the ANU (and take her out for sweets and alcohol if she didn’t). On Wednesday she found out she got in, and she was free yesterday, so I baked the Chocolate raspberry pudding cake from Nigella Lawson’s How To Cook, which was very rich and chocolaty. But there wasn’t enough time to bake a cake and roast the lamb shanks, so we ordered Chinese food, and ate the cake. Then they left a little after 10, and we watched a tv show, and I went to bed and read until very late. I got to sleep before dawn, but probably not by much.

And today I woke up at the crack of 3pm or so, and stumbled around eating toast and catching up on the internets, as I do on the weekend, and all of a sudden it was nearly five, and I figured I’d better start doing something about those lamb shanks if we wanted to have dinner before 9pm.

So after flipping through a few different recipes for lamb shanks, I decided I would braise them on the stove for an hour and then put them in the oven to roast for an hour or so, and with any luck they would be tender and ready to eat by about 7.30 ( Which would have worked if I hadn’t received a phone call before 7- we didn’t eat until a little after 8.)

shanks 02

Braised Lamb shanks with pomegranate molasses, ginger, and saffron
Serves four
4 lamb shanks
4 cloves garlic – sliced
5cm piece of ginger – sliced
1 tbs olive oil
3 tbs pomegranate molasses
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp fenugreek
1 large pinch saffron
1 pinch dried chili
1½ cups of water
salt and pepper


Cut any excess fat off the meat, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place oil in a large pot, and brown the lamb shanks, two at a time. Remove when the meat is seared all over, and place in a roasting dish.

Add the garlic and ginger to the pot and stir fry until soft, add a dash of water to stop them from frying too crisply. Add the molasses and the rest of the spices and 1 cup of water, and bring to a simmer.

Return the lamb shanks to the pot, turn heat to low, the liquid should come about halfway up the sides of the shanks. Cover and cook for approximately an hour. You may want to place a sheet of foil between the pot and the lid to stop any steam from escaping.

Do whatever it is you do when you have an hour to spare: read, knit, watch something, cuddle your sweetie, save the world, etc.

Transfer the shanks and sauce to a large baking dish (keeping enough liquid aside to cover the bottom of the pot, you will use this to sauté the leeks). Cover, and place in pre-heated oven on 180°C/350°F. Roast for another 30-40 minutes, remove cover, turn over, baste meat, roast uncovered for 15-25 minutes.

Creamy Leek and Potato
3 medium leeks
8 medium potatoes
½ cup of cream
The retained liquid from braising the lamb

Parboil or steam the potatoes until they are mostly cooked, but firm enough to cut into 2-3mm slices without disintegrating into mush.

Slice the pale parts of the leeks and gently sauté in the liquid you retained in the large pot. When the leeks are soft, add the potatoes and cream and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

Divide potatoes and leeks between plates, and place one shank on each.



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