Slow-cooked lamb shanks have really become a modern old-fashioned winter staple! However, the high fat content of lamb, the buttery mash and the rich gravy have all joined forces to flag this dish as a hazard to healthy eating.
Like any treacherous path, if you navigate your way carefully along it, there is ultimately a secure way through. Using your trusty frypan, you can tiptoe past the precipice of energy density (kilojoules) and make it safely through to a delicious, nutrition-laden meal. Trim the lamb of visible fat (if any), employ your non-stick cooking surface to cut right down on oil and plate up with butter bean mash (which is so unctuous when the sauce soaks into it), and you will end up with a meal so divine you won’t even miss the buttery mash a bit.
Serve with a bowl of freshly steamed bok choy and you’ve covered all your nutritional bases.
(I’ve added the spices and apricots because the north african’s use this combination so successfully with lamb – I knew I could ride on their coat tails with this one!)
½ tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper, 4 lamb shanks, 1 onion thinly sliced, 2 garlic cloves crushed, zest of 1 orange
400g can diced tomatoes, 1 ½ cups chicken stock, 1 tabspn ground ginger, 1 tspn cinnamon, 100g dried apricots
2 x 400g cans of butter beans, bok choy
- Heat oil on no 8 (185 celsius). Add lamb shanks, season with salt and pepper and brown all over, turning frequently. Remove shanks from pan.
- Turn pan down to no 6 (160 celsius). Add onions and garlic and cook until onion has softened. Add all remaining ingredients, except the dried apricots and gently stir to combine.
- Return shanks to the pan, scatter dried apricots evenly throughout and season again with salt and pepper.
- Turn pan down to no 3 (125 celsius), cover (with lid vent closed) and cook for 2 hours, or until meat is gently falling from the bone. Shanks will need to be turned from time to time for even cooking.
- Serve shanks on Butter Bean Smash, with steamed bok choy on the side.
Butter Bean Smash
- Drain beans and rinse under cold water. Add to saucepan and cover with cold water. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes. Drain, gently mash and season with salt and pepper.