Slow-roasted lamb shanks with aubergine-and-tomato stew

Slow-roasted lamb shanks with aubergine-and-tomato stew

Aubergine, also called eggplant or brinjal, is a plant species in the nightshade family, which is related to tomatoes and potatoes. Many cultivars exist, with aubergines being either white, green, purple or black skinned.

Aubergines are rich in antioxidant phenolic compounds; they also contain flavonoids, like anthocyanins – water-soluble pigments – which boast many health benefits, and which are responsible for giving aubergines their lovely colour.

Studies have shown that phytochemical-rich foods that specifically contain anthocyanins – like aubergines – could prevent age-related neurodegeneration and cognitive decline.

In theory, aubergines with the highest level of antioxidants taste the most bitter. As such, in order to eliminate the unpleasant taste, it is common practice to salt aubergines before cooking them, although this may affect the antioxidant content of the vegetable.

Alternatively, studies have shown that steaming aubergines retains the most antioxidants.

Recipe and styling by Claire Ferrandi 

Slow-roasted lamb shanks with aubergine-and-tomato stew

Ingredients

  • LAMB SHANKS

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 1½ tsp fennel seeds
  • olive oil, to drizzle
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • large handful fresh rosemary sprigs + extra, to garnish
  • large handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 500ml (2 cups) lamb/beef stock
  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • STEW

  • 4 medium aubergines, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • canola/olive oil, to fry
  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 120g dried apricots, diced
  • pan-fried baby tomatoes, to serve

Instructions

1

For the lamb shanks, preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the lamb shanks in a large casserole dish with a lid. Set aside until needed.

2

Roughly grind the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar. Sprinkle the ground spices over the lamb and drizzle with the olive oil. Rub the spices and oil into the skin, ensuring the shanks are coated thoroughly. Arrange the garlic halves and rosemary sprigs on top of the meat.

3

Place the fresh thyme sprigs and onion slices around the shanks in the casserole dish. Pour the lamb/beef stock and water into the dish and season to taste. Cover with a lid and roast in the preheated oven until the meat is cooked, about 5 hours.

4

While the lamb is roasting, prepare the stew. Place the aubergine cubes in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the cubes and add the 1 tbsp salt. Set aside to soak.

5

Heat a drizzle of the canola/olive oil in a large pot. Add the diced red onion and cumin seeds, and fry over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the smoked paprika and stir for a minute, then add the tinned tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, until the mixture has reduced by half.

6

While the tomato mixture is cooking, drain the aubergine cubes, then spread them out on paper towel and gently pat them dry with another piece of paper towel on top to absorb excess moisture. The cubes should be as dry as possible.

7

Heat a drizzle of canola/olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the aubergine cubes and fry over high heat until golden brown, about 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to the tomato mixture.

8

Season to taste and add the ground coriander, crushed garlic and dried apricots. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the stew has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.

9

Serve the stew with the roasted lamb shanks. Top with the pan-fried baby tomatoes and garnish with the rosemary sprigs.

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