I love the fact that in many parts of Turkey, this braised lamb shank dish is still made the traditional way – with a handmade clay pot, a tandoor oven and a hole in the ground. For our purposes, a good heavy-based casserole with a tight fitting lid will do the trick just as well. Serve as is or with a burghul pilaf.
- 6 lamb shanks
- 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed
- sea salt flakes
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp red pul biber (Aleppo pepper)
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- olive oil, for drizzling
- 3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 2 tbsp black pul biber (Aleppo pepper)
- 2 tbsp biber salçasi (Turkish red capsicum paste)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 small carrots, halved
- 12 cocktail onions, peeled
- 200 g (1 cup) haricot beans, soaked overnight in cold water, drained
- 200 g (1 cup) borlotti beans, soaked overnight in cold water, drained
- 6 vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
- 2 litres lamb stock or water
- 8 black cabbage leaves, picked from the stem
- zest of 1 lemon
- 60 g (½ cup) walnuts, roasted and crushed
- kale cress
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating and soaking time overnight
You will need to begin this recipe a day ahead.
To make the marinade, place the lamb shanks in a large bowl. Pound the rosemary leaves and a pinch of salt in a mortar until coarsely chopped to release the oils, then add to the lamb. Add the garlic and a large pinch of salt to the mortar and pound until a paste forms, then add to the lamb with the pul biber, black pepper and a drizzle of oil. Toss to coat well, then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight if time permits.
To braise the lamb, preheat the oven to 160°C. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large heavy-based casserole with tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Cook the lamb shanks on all sides until golden, then add the spices and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the pastes, then add the carrots and onions, beans and tomatoes. Add the stock or water and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid and bake for 3 hours or until the meat falls away from the bone.
To serve, remove the lamb from the oven, add the black cabbage, half the zest and most of the walnuts and stir gently to just combine – you don’t want to break up the meat or the veggies. Remove the meat from the bone in large pieces and divide among bowls with the vegetable, beans and sauce. Scatter with kale cress, the remaining walnuts and zest and serve immediately.