I declare these lamb shanks to be the best I have ever created. There are two reasons this came to be:
1. I discovered that all lamb shanks are not the same. There are shanks and there are hind shanks. The hind shank is much meatier and less fatty than the regular forequarter shank. I had not previously been presented with both options so I did not realise there was a difference in shanks.
2. The Greek flavor combination intensifies in the slow cooker for a sumptuous flavorsome meal.
My slow cooker has been working at least three times a week at the moment, keeping dinner progressing while I focus on working. It really is the perfect machine to have in your kitchen for stress free Winter meals. Rather than being a quick meal the benefit is that it cooks itself unattended while you go about your day. When you are ready for dinner the slow cooker has done it’s job and dinner is waiting for you to serve. Winter this year seems to have come on hard and fast, there was no build up, it has just been suddenly very cold. As a result I am craving the density and warmth that seems to go hand and hand with slow cooker meals. They are a little like a hug at the end of busy day as you settle into the quieter evening period.
I have created a few lamb shank recipes that I have shared here but this one is the best by far. I hope that you give it a try.
I carefully removed the shanks from the slow cooker and replaced the bone to take the pictures above as the meat cooked to such buttery softness that it slipped off the bone. The feta, herbs and preserved lemons make this a meal to remember. We have enjoyed it a number of times over the last few weeks as I tested the recipe. This meal is family friendly but it would work equally well served to dinner guests when entertaining.
I served this dish with freekeh as I enjoy the flavour and texture as a change from rice or polenta. It absorbed the flavors of the cooking juices when it is served and remains firm in texture. Freekeh is made from roasted green grains and is said to have up to four times the amount of fibre that brown rice (reference)
This is my slow cooker recipe for lamb shanks with Greek inspired flavors:
- drizzle of cooking oil of choice
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 3 lamb shanks (hind)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup chopped dates
- 1 piece of preserved lemon finely diced
- 3 grinds pepper
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
- To Serve:
- Freekeh cooked according to instructions
- Feta cheese
- fresh thyme leaves
- Vegetables of choice
- Add the oil to the pan (or base of your slow cooker if you can remove it and use it on a hot plate)
- Add the garlic, cumin and oregano to the pan to heat for a minute
- Add the shanks and turn every 4 minutes to brown on each side
- Add the red wine vinegar and allow to reduce by half - this will happen in tens of seconds
- Add the dates, lemon, pepper, stock and fresh thyme leaves and place the ingredients back into the base of the slow cooker
- Set to cook on high for 5 - 6 hours
- Serve on a bed of freekeh, crumbled feta, fresh thyme leaves and vegetables of choice
The recipe is based on serving 2 adults and 2 young children.
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