Slow Cooked Spiced Lamb Shanks – and some spartan cooking arrangements

So, you know how the cobbler’s children historically had no shoes? Well, the property developing, building and renovating couple currently have a crappy kitchen with no oven in their new home. Can you imagine how that makes me feel? It’s a bit weird though as in Spain I often go the whole summer without turning on the oven, but when you don’t have something all you can think about is that one thing. Here’s a quick glimpse of my current cooking arrangements.

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I am making do for the moment with a small camping sized electric hob, my now well-loved giant slow cooker and an electric plancha. All I want to do is bake cakes and oven roast meat but it’s not to be, for a while at least.

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And just to explain the even more dreadful than usual photos of the finished dish, you can see that I am hardly “blinded by the light” in the kitchen. Boo hoo. But hopefully all this explains why I am posting less recipes than usual!

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A perfect dish to get rid of cooking frustrations is a slow cooked pot of lamb shanks. This can be done just as easily in a low oven, reducing the cooking time to 3-4 hours. You will be rewarded for your patience, whichever method you choose!

Ingredients (serves 2 generously)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (or black treacle)
  • 4 dried apricots, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to season

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Heat the olive oil in a frying pan (or in an ovenproof dish if you are going to oven cook) and brown the lamb shanks all over, then transfer to your slow cooker (or put onto a plate).

Gently fry the onions and garlic until softened then add the spices and tomato and bring to a simmer. Pour in the stock, add the molasses, apricots and season. When it’s bubbling again pour over the lamb shanks in the slow cooker (or add the lamb shanks to the pot), cover and cook on low for about 10 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bones.

When you are ready to serve (with mashed potato is a good idea), take the meat out and keep warm, pour the sauce into a pan and reduce on a medium heat until thickened to your liking. Pour over the meat and enjoy!

Any leftover sauce is wonderful served over pasta and easily heated up on your camping stove (but do feel free to use a regular one too)!

(Inspired by a recipe from the BBC Good Food site)


49 thoughts on “Slow Cooked Spiced Lamb Shanks – and some spartan cooking arrangements

  1. Poor you! I know how much you enjoy cooking so being boneless must be awful. The lamb thanks look lovely – and I can recommend beef brisket in the slow cooker. The leftovers make great sandwiches too.

  2. I just love my slow cooker, so may well try your recipe. Have you tried baking cakes in your slow cooker? I have recently seen several slow cooker cake recipes on Facebook & although I’ve had my slow cooker for nearly 30 years, I have yet to try baking a cake! I love following your recipes, keep them coming!

  3. I can imagine how frustrating that must be. It reminds me of a flat I lived in in Barcelona where we had a two ring gas hob between 4 of us, no oven! I was hell if we were all hungry and wanting to cook. The sink was a bit of a nightmare too!
    I could eat the lamb shanks with harissa now 😉

    1. Don’t even get me started on the sink – Big Man promises me that the dishwasher will be plumbed in within the next 3 or 4 days….I may have to move to plastic plates soon otherwise 😉

      1. Ha ha – I bet Big Man will do everything in his power to get the dishwasher working or roll up his sleeves and press manual 😉

  4. Wow. This is actually pretty impressive given your lack of an oven. The lamb looks delicious! Julia Child used to cook with a set up like that when she was on the road. Think of it as a challenge 🙂

  5. One word… “unctuous”. Unctuous things don’t need good light. They don’t need backing lights or white sheets or waiting 4 days till the light is right or spraying with veggie oil to make them gleam, they just gleam all by themselves. They make humble surroundings pale and dissolve because all eyes are focused on that delicious plate in front of them. They make atheists say grace. They simply “are”. That dish looks proper unctuous Ms Chica 🙂

  6. Oh, I’d find that tough too! Though hopefully it’s only a temporary glitch until a beautiful new kitchen is installed in the coming weeks?! Your lamb shanks looks absolutely delicious – my favourite cut of meat! 🙂

  7. Kudos to you for making a magnificent meal in half a kitchen Tanya. I can only imagine what it must be like. Think my wine intake would increase somewhat if I were in your situation.
    Have a beautiful weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. Aha Mandy – now you know my secret! Luckily the car was loaded with wine when we came back from Spain and France is only a hop, skip and a jump away when we run out 😉

    1. You definitely need mash for all the juices! And autumn is most definitely here – I let the pups out this morning and the garden was covered in dew and had a very autumnal fee to it, so we need warming dishes now J

  8. Wow, you managed to turn these out of such a hotchpotch kitchen? You must be some kind of miracle worker! Maybe you could PRETEND you have an oven and then your cravings to bake might go away 😉
    Well done for managing to cook anything and good luck with the renovation!

  9. This looks so good…a perfect Fall comfort food dish and love the touch of harissa and contrast of the pomegranate molasses. You’ve done so well in spite of the kitchen and light limitations…far better than I would! 🙂

    1. Ah thanks Betsey – it’s been a bit of a struggle but today (hurrah) we bought a second hand cooker (and a very nice one at that!) to keep us going until we properly reform the kitchen. Phew!

  10. You may be doing without right now but I can just imagine what you and Big Man have in store for a kitchen in you new project. We just had lamb shanks but next time I buy them I must try your recipe. I think I might make a little couscous to go along with your dish. 🙂

  11. I can’t wait to see how fabulous it’s all going to look when you’ve finished! I bet it will be fantastic! 🙂 PS. Made your chorizo tapas for dinner last night – we think of you whenever we make it, so it’s like you had dinner here with us in Sydney! 🙂

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