Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Twice cooked lamb shanks

Now don't get all excited, thinking that this is tale of some fancy-schmancy lamb shanks, cooked slow and deep fried restaurant style or something. I am still in the process of restocking the pantry (I have a walk in pantry in this new house! Exciting!) but occasionallly I get taken by surprise. I let a lot of bottled staples run low in the old place as I could not be bothered dragging up one more jar than was absolutely necessary. And while I compose mental lists of "get more soy" and
"we're out of sesame oil" I completely forget others until I open the fridge, mid-dressing-mixing and find that we have Not One Jar Of Mustard in the place. There were about seven previously, so you can understand why I might find this perplexing.

And even something as common as the tinned tomato is in short supply. I (foolishly) bought up a big bag of half-price lamb shanks from Hagens Organic Butcher on Saturday and late one night decided that I absolutely postively had to get them started. I threw them in a pot with garlic and tomatos and ras al hanout and cooked them until I was desperate to go to bed (this is not exactly quantifiable but it was nowhere near long enough for the slow tenderising required). I drained the shanks and popped them in the fridge but could not face putting the broth in as well. I simply covered the pot with foil and decided that if I boiled it up first thing in the morning it would be fine to receive the shanks back again for their second simmer. I promptly forgot all about the shanks for another 24 hours. At this point I was not keen to reuse the shank broth, given the amount of time which had passed.

So I ditched the tomato shank soup and started again. I cut up half a head of garlic and chucked it in the pan. Some more ras al hanout and the shanks followed. But this was the point where the gaps in my store cupboard became obvious. There were no more tomatoes, not even some sugo. So I topped up with water and hoped for the best. After an hour or so I put in some brown rice and salt and waited for it to cook. I had planned to add brown lentils, but it needed something green so I tipped in that most stapley of staples, frozen peas.

It didn't have promising beginnings but this evolved into something tasty and substantial, particularly with a generous dollop of plain yoghurt. Figman has practically fallen in love with it. He ate it for dinner last night and at least twice more today. I've had my share so I might even concede the last leftovers in the fridge to him. As long as he doesn't want them with mustard.


At 10:33 AM, Blogger Ange said...

Glad to hear it all worked out. Lookign fwd to cooking up some wintery comfort food myself when it cools down a bit

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous belial said...

I am glad I am not the only one for whom the humble frozen peas are the emergency green staple when mother hubbard's fridge fails to hold any freah ones!

At 6:58 PM, Blogger plum said...

Thanks Ange - I've only used the oven once in the last month, just too hot!

Hey B. - your fridge must be much more fancy than mine - I have never had fresh peas in it - never ever! They are supposed to be fabulous when really really fresh but I am never that organized. Maybe if I grow my own?


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