Slow Cooked Spiced Lamb Shanks – and some spartan cooking arrangements

2 Oct

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 Responses to “Slow Cooked Spiced Lamb Shanks – and some spartan cooking arrangements”

  1. themateriallady October 2, 2014 at 18:48 #

    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.

    • themateriallady October 2, 2014 at 18:49 #

      Oven less. Not boneless. Darned auto correction.

      • Chica Andaluza October 2, 2014 at 18:52 #

        I quite liked boneless – made me smile! Have been looking at some beef brisket recipes – I think that’s next on the cooking agenda 🙂

  2. Linda Wray October 2, 2014 at 19:05 #

    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!

    • Chica Andaluza October 2, 2014 at 19:35 #

      Cakes, really? Oh god, I so need to give that a go! Thanks for the tip…things could start to get more interesting in the kitchen!

  3. Mad Dog October 2, 2014 at 19:06 #

    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 😉

    • Chica Andaluza October 2, 2014 at 19:37 #

      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 😉

      • Mad Dog October 3, 2014 at 00:08 #

        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 😉

      • Chica Andaluza October 3, 2014 at 10:02 #

        I think he’s leaning more towards the technical solution!

      • Mad Dog October 3, 2014 at 12:24 #


  4. Amanda October 2, 2014 at 19:12 #

    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. cookinginsens October 2, 2014 at 20:48 #

    Beautiful and delicious Chica.

  6. restlessjo October 2, 2014 at 20:52 #

    Never heard of pomegranate molasses! You can come and use my kitchen. It’s my least favourite place 🙂

  7. narf77 October 2, 2014 at 21:00 #

    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 🙂

  8. 76sanfermo October 2, 2014 at 23:26 #

    Interesting, Chica!

  9. Margot @ Gather and Graze October 3, 2014 at 01:48 #

    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! 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza October 3, 2014 at 10:03 #

      It may be longer than a few weeks but it is definitely the first job on the agenda for this house!

  10. Michelle October 3, 2014 at 05:17 #

    What a trooper you are! Sounds delicious.

    • Chica Andaluza October 3, 2014 at 10:03 #

      Good old British War Spirit – I am my granny’s grand-daughter!

  11. Frugal Hausfrau October 3, 2014 at 07:57 #

    These look marvelous! Surely a sign of a great cook to turn out meals in such a reduced circumstances, right!

    • Chica Andaluza October 3, 2014 at 11:24 #

      Ah thank you – when you’re hungry it’s amazing what you can do!

  12. thecompletebook October 3, 2014 at 10:44 #

    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

    • Chica Andaluza October 3, 2014 at 11:26 #

      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 😉

  13. cathyandchucky October 3, 2014 at 11:32 #


  14. TheDorsetFinca October 5, 2014 at 08:18 #

    We had lamb shanks the other evening and they were delicious! The ultimate comfort food… with mash of course!

    • Chica Andaluza October 5, 2014 at 09:38 #

      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

  15. trixpin October 5, 2014 at 12:06 #

    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!

    • Chica Andaluza October 5, 2014 at 17:55 #

      That is a BRILLIANT idea – and then, thinking I have an oven, I won’t want to use it 😉

  16. bitsandbreadcrumbs October 8, 2014 at 18:06 #

    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! 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza October 8, 2014 at 19:22 #

      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!

  17. Karen October 10, 2014 at 23:37 #

    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. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza October 11, 2014 at 22:49 #

      Oh yes couscous would be great for mopping up all the sauce!

  18. Tandy | Lavender and Lime October 14, 2014 at 05:57 #

    By now I would have bought myself the LG solardom oven. Regardless, this meal sounds delicious 🙂

  19. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial October 15, 2014 at 11:18 #

    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! 🙂

  20. fati's recipes October 26, 2014 at 04:03 #

    Chica, you make me cry tears from giggles 🙂 May you enjoy a lovely well built kitchen soon!

    • Chica Andaluza October 26, 2014 at 08:47 #

      I was crying but not from laughter before I got the oven I now have 😉

  21. Maulana Angga February 22, 2015 at 03:50 #

    Your post always make me hungry haha.


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