There’s nothing I enjoy more than spicy shanks with the meat falling off the bone into a pool of spicy North African tomato gravy. Harissa is the perfect chili paste for the job and Australian brand, Garnisha, is such a good product I have no qualms with opening a bottle and using it as my base rather than making the paste from scratch (yes, I do cheat occasionally). I have had jars of harissa languish in the fridge for years because the flavours always tasted a bit weird or were too pungent but Garnisha’s harissa, while not overly hot, is a very pleasant blend of chili, mint, caraway, coriander, cumin, paprika and lemon juice. The label says, “Produce of Paradise”, which is a confident declaration and supported by the really fresh taste of this curry paste.
This recipe is really a no brainer. It’s easy to scale up for a large family by adding 1 heaped dessert spoon of paste per person, per shank, assuming you have big eaters. Large numbers of shanks can be cooked in a large roasting tray, arranging the lamb shanks head to toe (fat end to skinny end) and covering the tray with foil to bake.
- olive oil
- pinch of salt
- 2 lamb shanks
- 2 brown onions, diced
- 2-3 heaped dessert spoons of Garnisha harissa
- 400 g tin of diced tomatoes
- pomegranate seeds and fresh coriander leaves for garnish(optional)
Preheat the oven to 160 °C.
Heat some olive oil in a heavy casserole dish on the top of the stove. Brown the shanks, turning regularly until evenly browned. Remove shanks. Add a little more oil and sauté the onions with the salt until translucent. Add the harissa paste and stir until combined and aromatic. Add the tomatoes, shanks and a little water ( just enough to rinse the tin of tomatoes). Cover the dish, place in the oven and cook for 2 hours. Rotate the shanks after the first hour and check liquid levels. Don’t add too much water as you want a nice thick curry. Garnish the shanks with pomegranate seeds and coriander leaves. Serve with basmati rice or couscous with a little labna (strained natural yoghurt) on the side.
Variation: add a tin of chickpeas