Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Couscous with slow-cooked lamb shanks and butter beans

We had this on Sunday instead of the normal traditional roast, as my youngest son was in a tennis tournament and I knew we needed to just walk into the house and be able to eat more or less immediately. The house always smells delicious when lamb shanks are on the menu!

The marinade is easy to prepare and you can do it in advance (I did mine on Saturday) and to be quite honest, you really don't need to measure anything out...it is not an exact science. Here is a suggestion to serve 4:

For the Lamb
4 lamb shanks
2 tins chopped tomatoes
piece of fresh ginger, grated
zest and juice of an orange
zest and juice of a lemon
glass or two of white or red wine
big sprig of rosemary
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1tsp cinnamon or a cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1tsp each ground cumin, crushed coriander seeds, crushed peppercorns
2tbsp olive oil
1/2tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tins butter beans
fresh coriander, mint or parsley to serve

For the couscous
250g couscous
1tsp salt
1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp fresh mint and coriander, finely chopped

For the yoghurt sauce -

Mix together and leave in fridge for at least 30 minutes:
200g natural yoghurt
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp chilli powder
black pepper
finely chopped fresh mint

  1. Turn the oven to 220 C
  2. Mix all the ingredients together except the butter beans and the coriander
  3. Lay out four pieces of tin foil large enough to wrap up each lamb shank
  4. Place 1/4 of the mixture and a lamb shank into each foil square and wrap up into a loose parcel
  5. Place the parcels into a casserole dish and cook in the hot oven for 20-30 minutes (until you can smell the cooking)
  6. Turn down oven to 140-150 C and leave for 3 1/2 - 4 hours
  7. Take the casserole dish out of the oven and carefully remove each foil. The lamb shanks will be falling off the bone and there will be lots of delicious sauce
  8. Check for seasoning, add the butter beans. You may want to add some more garlic, spices or a pinch of smoked paprika at this stage, or thicken the sauce with a little flour (or thin it with some more wine)
  9. Cook for a further 20 minutes while you prepare the couscous
  10. Place the couscous in a bowl with the salt and olive oil. Pour over 300mls boiling water or stock and leave for five minutes (check pack for exact quantities) and stir
  11. Fluff up the couscous gently with a fork, adding the herbs and seasoning as you do so
  12. Sprinkle the lamb with fresh herbs and serve with the couscous and yoghurt sauce. The yoghurt sauce and a green salad is a good accompaniment


dlyn said...

This sounds great! I will be back to see what else you come up with.

annette said...

This sounds delicious. I love lamb shanks and am a great advocate of slow cooking in my Aga. Is it necessary to wrap the shanks in foil or could you just cook them in a casserole with a tight fitting lid?