Recipe Shed – Slow cooked Lamb Shanks & Lentils served with garlic Flatbread.

Yes I have been bad, I have not put a recipe up here in ages and ages and ages….

I was reading last week’s Recipe Shed prompt for Moreish food, and I first read it as Moorish food (I have the delicious Moro and was going to cook something from there, but then realised the error of my reading.)

However, the other day I had put Lamb shanks out for dinner, and thought, ooo slow cooked lamb shanks what could be more moreish than that?  Puy lentils, hmmm bacon and toulouse sausages in the fridge, this is getting better and better.

So that was what I was going to post for last week, then realised that it was Thursday today and I’d missed it… eek!  Though seem to have missed the prompt for this week, so I trundled along to Chronicles of  Reluctant Housedad this morning (go, read… his Chicken Biryani looks most delicious), and realised that it would still fit, as this week’s prompt is pasta, pulses and rice….

There is a reason I rarely put recipes up for savory food, it’s essentially because I do not follow recipes for them (I know I’ve said it before, but I just need to re-iterate for anyone who doesn’t know).  What I normally do is open my fridge-freezer of a morning, and decide either what I am in the mood to make, or what I fancy eating.  Or look to the food planning chart and just go with that, it depends on how organised I’ve been at the beginning of the week.

This morning I had two lamb-shanks and a cold wet dreich day as inspiration.  Add to that a particularly pretty jar of puy lentils and an idea started to form.

Two large onions were chopped finely and put in a pan with a glug of olive oil to sweat slowly, as I opened a pack of back bacon, and cut the streaky ends of each slice into strips (saving the other part for hub’s bacon sandwich the next morning, bonus points!).  The strips were added and left to cook for a few minutes; meanwhile I minced a whole garlic bulb and one heaped tablespoon of minced garlic was added, with a stock cube, to the mix and the rest was blended with a good seasoning of salt and pepper with 50g butter, (or a large spoonful) to make garlic butter to be used later.

Now on to the Lamb, which had been lightly seasoned with salt and pepper then dry fried in a big pan to brown as were three toulouse sausages and once lightly brown all over the meat was mixed to the onion, bacon, garlic mix (discarding all the rendered oil).  Now it gets complicated, I then added the puy lentils.  But have no clue how much, I am guessing it was about 150g.

The lentils were stirred well into the onion, meaty mix and then about 500ml of water and a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste were added, brought to the boil and left to simmer for about fifteen minutes.  If I had any wine in the house, I would have probably added a good glug in first, but I didn’t and to be honest the end product wasn’t lacking with it’s omission.

I tasted the mix, the lentils were al dente, but there wasn’t too much liquid left in the pan. Now for the bit I like the best.  I transferred everything to my slow-cooker, set it on high, and left it for the rest of the day (about seven hours), so the meat melted off the bone, the flavours melded together and it was all ready to eat for dinner.  I did check the liquid content throughout the day, and added a cup of water to the mix after the first hour or so as the lentils sucked up the juices.  However you have to be careful not to add too much as you do not lose liquid when cooking with a slow cooker, in the same way as you would on the hob.

Hubs had said the previous evening that I hadn’t made flat-bread in a while so I thought I’d accompany these with some sour dough flatbread, but failed to start early enough so I just made my “quick” version. (Again, I tend to make this by feel, so weights are approximate)

Reactivate a heaped tsp yeast with scant tsp sugar and warm water, until it is frothy then add to 300g strong white flour and 1/2 tsp salt. I use my kitchen aid to knead it until it is an elastic dough, adding water or flour as required.  Give it a good knead, so it is nice and elastic and the gluten has been released from the flour. It’s great to do by hand at the end of the day to release all the days tension.  Leave the dough for at least half an hour (though I have used it straight away).  Tear off balls the size of tennis balls, roll out and cook on a hot griddle until it has puffed up.  I like colour on my flat bread so it can get quite smoky at this point as I think the charred bits give it extra flavour.

Brush the bread with the garlic butter made in the morning, slice into fingers and serve with a bowl of the lamb and lentil and sausage.

(Note, it was a complete pain to photograph as it was late and the light in my kitchen isn’t great when it’s dark outside.  Suffice to say it looked much yummier than the pictures)

Recipe Shed