Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (my kitchen), there lived a hungry girl (me) who yearned for a platter of saffron rice on which a stewed lamb shank was perched in its juicy drippiness. Like the one she once devoured in the outdoor kitchen of her grandmamma’s, where just right outside palm tress swayed gently in the breeze and the sound of a phoenix singing could be heard from a distance. (Actually it was a Persian restaurant in Washington DC, my grandmother was vegan and would have never cooked lamb, and phoenixes are not even real, let alone sing.)
In this state of yearning, the girl wandered aimlessly so and was soon transported into a magical place, where anything and everything you could ever want, you can have with just a snap of your fingers (in real life, this place is called the internet, and you click your mouse to command things to come forward.)
She came across a tavern, where outside there was an enticing display of le plat du jour, featuring lamb shank curry, the very thing she was yearning for. Alas, the tavern was abandoned, and there was not a single soul around to help her procure the curry. (I follow Lucy on her blog, Feast Without Regret, where I found her excellent lamb shank curry recipe. Unfortunately, it seems she’s no longer active on that blog. She does, however, have another blog.)
This is Lucy’s curry
It soon dawned on the girl that the idea of a magical land seemed to be but a big, cruel joke. (No matter how hard I clicked my mouse, I could not command that curry to come forward. This internet thing is the biggest tease there is.)
So the girl swore right there and then, a la Scarlett O’Hara,”As God is my witness, they’re not going to beat me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk, if I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again, for lamb shank curry!”
She set out on a quest to obtain her own lamb shanks so she could make her own curry, set on fluffy saffron rice.
It took her half her lifetime before she finally ended the quest, ’cause apparently lamb shanks didn’t happen just like that. (My local grocery store, it turns out, doesn’t routinely stock lamb shanks. I had to wait 6 months before I could get hold of them. Okay, I probably wasn’t looking hard enough or everyday. And half a year in reality is half a lifetime in internet time. Seriously, you’re going to question how I came up with that calculation when there’s Lamb Shank on Saffron Rice in front of you? What’s the matter with you?)
Lamb Shank on Saffron Rice
2 lamb shanks
1 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp plain yogurt
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
2 dried limes
1 tbsp garam masala
2 cups chicken or beef stock
Salt & pepper
1. Combine ginger, garlic, turmeric, and yogurt and make a paste. Coat lamb shanks with the paste and marinate for an hour.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet on medium-high and brown the marinated lamb shanks. Remove and set aside.
3. Add more oil to the skillet and sauté chopped onion until translucent. Add tomato and the rest of spices. Stir to combine, add stock, then return meat to the skillet.
4. Bring to a simmer, cover skillet, and cook for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. If sauce dries up, more stock or water may be added.
5. Served on saffron rice.
My recipe above deviates quite a bit from Lucy’s, and I find it to be completely delicious and satisfying. You don’t have to make a choice, however. You can try both.