*Revised Recipe*

Winter is nearly over, the barbie will come out and we will soon be saying our goodbyes to the warming, hearty fare of the season.  With a bang!  This Spicy Lamb Shank & Lentil Soup will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy  from the inside out and paired with a gutsy shiraz and some thick crusty turkish bread it is quite a fitting farewell really…..until the next cold snap anyway!

Prep Time:  30 Minutes            

Cooking Time:  2.5 -3 Hours            

$$  Medium Budget

Serves 6-8

Olive oil for frying

4 Lamb shanks

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 brown onions, finely diced

2 tsp of chilli flakes (1 is fine if you like it mild)

1 tbs of ground cumin

11/2 tbs of sweet paprika

Juice of 1 lemon

1 litre of salt reduced beef stock

2 x 400gm tins of chopped tomatoes

2 x 400gm tins of lentils (drain 1 tin and reserve the liquid of 1)

2 large carrots, peeled and diced into 1cm chunks

1 medium sized eggplant, diced into 1cm chunks

1 bag of baby spinach leaves

500ml of water

2 tbs of tomato paste

1 bunch of coriander, stalks finely chopped & leaves roughly chopped

Mint leaves for garnish

Sea salt and cracked pepper

EVOO for drizzling

For the Mint Yoghurt:

1 cup of greek yoghurt (full fat please, there is no substitute)

2 tbs of finely chopped mint leaves

A squeeze of lemon juice

Sea salt and pepper

To prepare the Spicy Lamb Shank & Lentil Soup, heat a large heavy based stock pot, add a little oil and season the lamb shanks.  Brown them in the pot on all sides until golden and caramelised. Remove and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the eggplant on it, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden.

In the same pot, add the onion and lightly fry until soft before popping in the garlic, chilli flakes, cumin and paprika.  Fry for a further 60 seconds or until the spices release their heady aroma.  Pour in the stock, lemon juice, tomatoes, extra water and tomato paste.  Stir well to combine, bring to a simmer and put the shanks back in the pot along with the coriander stalks. Pop a lid on and allow to simmer for 2 hours or until the shank meat is falling off the bone.

Remove the lamb shanks again and add the carrots, baked eggplant, lentils and lentil liquid to the pot.  Stir well and bring back to the boil and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the veggies are tender.  While the veg is cooking, use a pair of tongs to strip the meat from the shanks.  Give it a rough chop,  return the meat to the soup and discard the bones.  Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Place the yoghurt, mint leaves and lemon juice in a small processor and process until it is lovely and bright green.  Season with salt and pepper, mix well and if it is a little too thin, place another tablespoon of yoghurt in and stir to combine.

Just before serving stir through the baby spinach leaves and coriander leaves, reserving some for garnish.  Ladle the Spicy Lamb Shank & Lentil Soup into large bowls, top with the yoghurt, coriander leaves and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil.  Serve with crusty bread and a gutsy red!

Leftover mint?  You may like to cook this……

Vietnamese Bun Cha