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Spring is in the air! The weather is typically unpredictable - suddenly a fresh packet of Telfast is a necessity when venturing into the great outdoors. Spring lamb also makes its way onto market shelves during this season, as lambs are reared through the winter months and sold as ‘new season’ animals come springtime.
We’ve got a bit of a soft spot for lamb shanks around here. We think it's nice to pair them with a salad that balances out their meatiness, and a refreshing sauce that has some nice texture and acidity to it.
This recipe represents a bit of a crossover in seasons; as winter citrus comes to an end, new season lamb becomes available. Thankfully there are still a few weeks of readily available citrus around now, so make the most of blood oranges while you can!
Freekeh is a roasted green wheat that is widely used in Middle Eastern and African cuisine. It has a nutty, moreish flavor and comes together on the stove in about the same amount of time that it takes to cook rice. Yeah!
4 lamb shanks
2 cups beef stock
½ an onion, roughly diced
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 sprigs thyme
1 carrot diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
Zest of ½ lemon
Take the shanks and give them a good rub with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Heat an oven proof pot on the stove and fry the shanks until they are a golden colour, and caramelised on all sides. Remove them from the pot and throw in the onion and garlic. Turn the heat down if it’s getting too smoking hot.
Cook for a minute or two, and then toss in the tomato paste. Continue to fry for another minute then add the stock and remaining ingredients. Cover with foil and bake in the oven on 150C for 2.5 hours.
After this time, remove the foil and turn the oven up to 190C. Cook for another 30 minutes and cool slightly.
When plating the shanks, take the remaining liquid from the pot and strain. Use this liquid as your sauce.
1 cup freekeh
¾ walnuts, toasted and gently crushed
¼ pine nuts, toasted
½ bunch parsley, washed and picked
3 blood oranges, peeled and cut into segments
2 blood oranges, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
1 generous pinch cayenne pepper
Cook the freekeh using a ratio of 1 cup freekeh to 2 cups of water. Once cooked, season with salt and some olive oil.
While the freekeh is cooling, prepare the dressing. Take the juice of 2 blood oranges and 1 lemon and add 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Add the pinch of cayenne, a teaspoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of honey.
Combine the toasted nuts with the freekeh, parsley, and dressing. Serve!
For more inspired recipes from this talented trio, head to the Eat This Food blog!