Lebanese lamb stew

So last week James went away to Germany for a few days leaving me without my housemate, boyfriend, pet sitter, chef.  I’ll be honest, it’s quite fun every once in a while to have the house to myself for a few days. I can sleep diagonally across the bed! When he went away though, I realised just how lazy I’d gotten in the past few months since I came back from living in Dublin.

For the first time in months, I had to buy lunch at work because I didn’t have a packed lunch. Then dinner was humous and toast… not even humous and veggies and nice meats which is a perfectly acceptable dinner. After a little bit of this I decided to surprise him and cook up something fantastic for us to eat when he got back.

I was really proud of this and it made four meals – dinner on Tuesday night and lunch on Wednesday night. The recipe comes from the Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage which I have raved about before but I made a few tweaks of my own….

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1. Take two lamb shanks (or chunks of lamb off the bone – which is what the recipe calls for)

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2. Get a large mixing bowl and in that bowl put a few 20140515-204557.jpgtablespoons of flour, plus a teaspoon or so of salt, pepper, cinnamon and allspice.

3. Roll the lamb shanks around in the mixture until covered. Put a casserole pan on the hob and heat up some oil. Now brown that meat. I got a bit scared here that I was going to burn the meat or the bone and ruin everything and instead of being able to impress James with my fantastic cooking he would just be disappointed with yet another kitchen failure…. I wrapped some tinfoil around the ends of the bones (burning my fingers in the process) and took the lamb shanks off the heat slightly earlier than I perhaps should have done. Be brave!

4. I then ‘softened’ a chopped up onion and two cloves of garlic before adding in dried mint and lemon thyme (from my garden!). I love the smell of dried mint cooking into onions and garlic. A squeeze or two of tomato paste, a tin of tinned chopped tomatoes and 400ml of beef stock went in before I re-added the lamb shank.

5. At this point I remembered to turn the oven on so up it went to 160 degrees C. I raised the temperature on the hob until the mixture was bubbling, then put the lid on and popped it into the oven for an hour and a half.

An hour later I was off for my 10k #werunthenight race. So I took the casserole dish out of the hob and left it on the side until Sunday…..

6. Peel some potatoes – however many you want. I went for two big ones and two small ones. Add the potatoes into the dish and put it back in the oven for another hour. I actually only put it back in for another 40 mins as I wasn’t actually eating the dish on Sunday.

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7. On Tuesday night I put the dish back in the oven for the third time! Cooked it for 30 mins then finished it off on the stove as we were hungry and those potatoes still needed to soften.

8. Stir in lots and lots of fresh mint and serve and eat immediately. FANTASTIC! To be honest I can really recommend you just buy this recipe book – it is ginormous but has so many recipes in it that look good that I had to stop tabbing them up! Everything I’ve cooked from the book has been so tasty.

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