Subtly spiced, red wine infused, melt-in-your-mouth Greek Lamb Shanks topped with a dill infused yoghurt.  Served on a bed of cumin spiced sweet potato mash and paired with a heavy red.  I’m drooling just writing about it.
I don’t always serve these delicious Greek Lamb Shanks with the Sweet Potato Mash, they are equally fabulous with nutty brown rice, creamy mashed potatoes or whatever side you desire.
This could be cooked in the slow cooker for about 6 hours on low, or the pressure cooker for 40-50, minutes until tender.
Prep time:   20 Minutes                
Cooking time:  2 1/2 – 3 Hours                
$  Low Budget

Serves 4

For the Greek Lamb Shanks:

4 French trimmed lamb shanks

2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil

1 large brown onion, finely diced

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

8 French eschalots, skinned but left whole (baby brown onions will do)

2 tsp of ground cumin

1 tsp of ground coriander

2 cinnamon sticks

4 pieces of lemon peel

2 bay leaves

1/2 a bottle of decent red wine

1 cup of beef stock

1 x 400gm tin of tomatoes

2 tbs of tomato paste

1 tsp of sugar

Sea salt and pepper

Dill sprigs for garnish

For the Sweet Potatoes:

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 tbs of butter

1/2 a tsp of cumin

Sea salt and pepper

For the Yoghurt:

1 cup of good quality greek style yoghurt

juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 tbs of finely chopped dill

Sea salt and pepper

Pre heat the oven to 160°C.

To prepare the Greek Lamb Shanks, heat a large, heavy based casserole dish to a high heat and brown the lamb shanks on all sides.  You may need to do this in batches.  Set aside and drain on paper towel.

In the same pan, reduce the heat, add a little more olive oil and lightly fry the onion, eschalots and garlic until the onion is translucent.  Add the spices and fry until fragrant before pouring in the red wine.  Bring to a simmer, pop in the lemon peel, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves and allow to reduce by about half (10 minutes or so).

Once reduced add the tomatoes, beef stock, tomato paste and sugar and stir well to combine.  Have a taste and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Return the shanks to the pot, cover with a lid and bring to the boil.  Once boiling pop the pot in the oven and bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, stirring and re-arranging occasionally and topping up with a little liquid if necessary, either stock or water is fine.

Combine the yoghurt, lemon juice, chopped dill and salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside. Peel two large sweet potatoes, roughly chop and bring them to the boil in a large pot of salted water.  After 20 minutes they should be tender, drain, mash and add a tablespoon of butter, 1/2 a teaspoon of cumin and some salt and pepper.  Give them a good stir to combine.

Divide the sweet potato between 3-4 serving plates and top with a couple of shanks.  Spoon over the sauce making sure everyone gets a couple of the whole eschalots.  Spoon over the yoghurt mix, top with some dill sprigs and serve……

*Suitable for the slow cooker.  Brown the shanks and fry off the onions, eschalots and garlic first and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours.