- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion (Thickly Sliced)
- 2 Cloves of Garlic (Chopped)
- 4-6 Free-Range Lamb Shanks
- 2 x 400g Tins Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ Teaspoon Ground Allspice
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Pomegranate Molasses
- 250g/1 Cup Natural Yoghurt
- 2 Teaspoon(s) Crushed Dried Mint
- 2 Cloves Garlic (Crushed)
- 3 Thin Lebanese/Pitta Breads
- 1 x 400g Tin Chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
- Handful of Fresh Mint (Chopped)
- 40g/4 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
In a large Dutch Oven (or a large deep saucepan with lid), cook the onion over medium heat in the olive oil (with a little salt) until softened. Add the chopped garlic and continue to cook for a minute or two more. Place the lamb shanks into the pot and brown slightly on all sides, before adding the tomatoes, spices, salt and pepper, pomegranate molasses and enough boiling water to just cover the shanks. Cover and simmer for approximately 2 – 2½ hours, until the lamb is practically falling off the bone. Take the lamb shanks from the pan and remove all meat from the bones.
While the lamb is braising, mix together the yoghurt, crushed garlic and dried mint with a pinch of salt and set it aside for later. It is best if this is at room temperature when you are ready to serve.
Toast the lebanese/pitta breads in the oven, or under the grill until crisp and light brown.
In a large serving dish, break up the toasted bread into pieces and scatter them across the bottom of the dish.
Spread the chickpeas over the top of the bread and then layer the shredded lamb over the top of this.
Scoop a number of ladlefuls of the tomato/onion sauce that the lamb was cooking in to fully coat all of the ingredients beneath.
Cover the dish with foil and place into a pre-heated 170°C oven for about 20 minutes until heated through.
While the dish is in the oven, toast the pine nuts carefully in a small frypan until golden. Set aside for the moment.
When you are ready to serve, pour the yoghurt over the top of the dish and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and fresh mint. Serve with plain basmati rice.
* Recipe from Claudia Roden’s ‘Arabesque’ Cookbook