This is a bit of Good Wifing 101, when it comes down to it men are really fucking easy to please, it’s all about the meat – either a big slab of it on a plate, or sexual favours relating to their own. Now look, I like a bit of rumpy pumpy slap and tickle as much as the next girl but I’m also over 30 weeks pregnant and spend my days keeping a very energetic 18 month old toddler alive and entertained. It’s a tiring business and there’s no fucking way I have the energy or inclination to be putting out every night, so it falls to meat of the non-schlong variety to maintain marital harmony.
It’s pretty primal but big meat on a plate makes happy man, and lamb shanks definitely qualify for the big meat category. I usually go for a rich tomatoey sort of sauce when it comes to shanks but I was making these in Sydney in early March and although the locals had started having a bit of a boo hoo about the departure of summer, I was still sweating like a bastard most of the time so some seasonal adjustments were required to lighten things up. The Moroccan flavours are light and refreshing and the broth-like stock is just used to cook the shanks and infuse them with flavour rather than to create a heavy gravy as with more traditional recipes.
My Cauligyver Tabbouleh was the perfect veggie side to partner with the fresher flavours of the lamb. I also added chopped dried apricots, pomegranate seeds, goji berries, pepitas and a good squeeze of lemon to introduce a bit of sweet with the savoury and carry through the Moroccan theme. If you want to make it even more fancy pants swap the pepitas for pistachios and you’ll be all next level posh innit.
Get this stuff
2 large lamb shanks
1 T good quality olive oil
1 L of chicken stock (or other stock of your choice)
1/2 C red wine
1/2 C verjuice
1 large carrot, cut into chunks
2 stalks of celery leafy tops included, roughly chopped
1 orange, whacked into quarters
1 brown onion roughly chopped
4-6 garlic cloves bashed a bit to break them open
2 t cinnamon
2 t ground cumin
2 t whole cumin seeds
Ground salt & black pepper to season
Do this with it
Slow cooking meat doesn’t really take a whole lot of technique, you can pretty much throw all the shit in a pot then spend the next three hours drinking the rest of the cooking wine and you’re still almost guaranteed to get a good result. But for the sake of making this look like an actual recipe here’s some half-arsed instructions…
Grab a big fuck off stock pot or heavy, wide based pan of some description. You can also make this in an oven casserole dish or slow cooker but seeing as I don’t currently own either of those things a pot it was for me. Heat the oil and add the shanks tossing them around for 5 minutes or so to get them browned and start the cooking process. Then take everything else on the list and throw it in. You don’t need to worry about fucking around finely dicing anything or making it pretty, this shit is there to create a big pot of flavour to infuse the shanks, it’s going to spend the next 2-3 hours stewing like a bastard so don’t waste your time making it pretty.
Bring the brew to a boil then reduce the heat so you have a low simmer happening, shove the lid on and bugger off. This is a great meal for lazy or inattentive bastards like me to make, it doesn’t needs a lot of attention so you don’t need to be poking around in the pot every 10 minutes, it’ll do well with a bit of wilful neglect so the occasional stir to move the shanks around a bit is more than sufficient.
After about two and a half to three hours you’ll want to put the wine down for a while and get excited because your big meat is just about ready. Do a progress check by shoving a fork into a shank and lifting it up, the meat should be so damn tender it’s near to falling off the bone by this stage which is exactly the melt in your mouth magic you’re looking for. See the picture below, no bones, just meat, aaaaallll the meat.
Pull all the meat off, slap it on a plate with a big pile of tabbouleh and then pour some of the good wine to go with it – although if you’ve been drinking the cheap stuff until now any old shite will probably do.