Monday, February 19, 2007

Favourite Recipes: Lamb Shanks with Dates and Pumpkin

Lamb Shanks with Dates and Pumpkin, served with Mashed Potatoes

It's a good one for entertaining.

Adapted from a recipe in Good Taste magaine, June 2002.

Serves 8, Prep 25 mins, Cooking: 1 hr 40 mins
(This is how long the shanks take to cook, but the mashed potato can be made while the shanks are simmering, so they don't have to end up adding mcuh to the time.
Note also that you need quite a large dish to fit 8 shanks - I often halve the quantities of the ingredients).

  • For the lamb shanks
    • lamb shanks, 8, French trimmed
    • plain flour, to coat
    • jap pumpkin, 600g, peeled, deseeded
    • veg oil, 2 tbsp
    • sauce flavourings
      • brown onion, 1, finely chopped
      • stock
        • boiling water, 750 ml (3 cups)
        • chicken stock cubes, 2 large, crumbled
      • dry red wine, 250ml (1 cup)
        Wine suggestion: Lamb shanks need a full-bodied South Australian red.
      • whole peeled tomatoes, 400g, crushed
      • whole pitted dried dates, 150g (1 cup), halved
      • cinnamon stick, 1, 7cm
    • salt and ground black pepper
    • fresh continental parsley, 2 tbsp, chopped
    • mashed potato, to serve

  • For the mashed-potatoes
    • evenly-sized medium unpeeled potatoes, 700g
      best potatoes to mash: kind edwards, pink eye, pontiac and sebago (brushed).
      Use evenly sized potatoes so they all cook in the same amount of time, resulting in a smoother mash.
    • salt, ½ tsp
    • butter, 100g, at room temperature, chopped
    • milk, 100ml
    • salt and ground black pepper

  • Cooking lamb shanks
    • Preparation: cutting pumpkin and preparing stock
      • Cut pumpkin lengthways into four 2cm-thick wedges. Cut each wedge in half crossways.
      • Combine the boiling water and crumbled stock cubes in a heatproof jug. Stir to combine and set aside until required.
    • Brown the lamb shanks
      • Place the flour onto a large plate and coat the lamb shanks all over with the flour. Shake off any excess.
      • Heat the oil in a large heatproof casserole dish over medium-high heat.
      • Add the lamb and cook, turning occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until well browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
    • Frying the onions
      • Add onion to pan and cook, stirring, for 2 mins or until onion is soft.
    • Slow-cooking the dish
      • Return lamb shanks to pan with reserved chicken stock, red wine, tomatoes, dates and cinnamon stick, and bring to the boil.
      • Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covereed, turning lamb shanks occasionally, for 45 mins.
        while this is cooking, you can make the mashed potato - see recipe below
      • Add the pumpkin and simmer, uncovered, for 35 mins or until the pumpkin is tender and sauce thickens slightly.
    • Serving
      • Divide the mashed potato among serving plates. Top with lamp shanks mixture and sprinkle with parsley.

  • For cooking mashed potato
    • Wash the potatoes
      • to remove any excess dirt
      • and being careful not to break the skin
    • Cook the potatoes
      • Place the whole potatoes in a large saucepan
        (Cooking the potatoes in their skin, and not piecing them too often during cooking, stops them absorbing too much water, which can result in broken up and flavourless potatoes, and a watery mash.)
      • Cover them with cold water
      • Add the salt
      • Cover and bring to the boil over high heat.
      • Remove the lid and reduce heat to medium-high.
      • Boil, uncovered, for 30 mins or until the potatoes are soft when tested with a skewer.
    • Dry and peel potatoes
      • Transfer the potatoes to a colander with a slotted spoon.
      • Set them aside for 5 mins to cool sightly.
      • Drain the water from the pan.
      • Once the poatoes are cool enough to handle, use a small sharp knife to peel and discard the skins.
      • Return the potatoes to the dry saucepan.
      • Shake the saucepn over low heat for 1-2 mins to remove any remaining moisture from the potatoes.
    • Mash potatoes
      • Using a potato masher
        (avoid using a food processor to mash them as they will end up being gluggy).

    • Add seasinings and falvourings.
      • Add the butter and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.
      • Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, for 4 mins or until milk is hot (being careful not to boil).
      • Gradually add the hot milk to the potatoes and continue to mash until smooth.
      • Taste and season with salt and pepper.
        Serve immediately.

Mashed potato variations

Garlic-infused mashed potato
Peel and thinly slice 4 garlic cloves and add with teh milk in step 5 before heating. Strain the hot milk and discard the garlic before using.

Creamy herbed mash
Stir 2 tbs finely chopped fresh continental parsley and 1 tbs chopped fresh chives into the mashed potato in step 6 before seasoning.

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou thankyou thankyou for posting this!!!
    I have this recipe (somewhere) but of course when I want to use it I now can't find it. It's one of my favourites too.