I make no pretenses, I am a South African through and through. I love eating meat, and a little biltong snack midday never goes amiss. Do not get me wrong, I love fine dining and haute cuisine but nothing beats a good, hearty South African meal.
Lamb is definitely my favourite choice when it comes to red meat, whether it’s a braaied lamb chop or gorgeous lamb roast it’s a winner in my book.
My personal favourite when it comes to cooking lamb, is lamb shank, so I thought I would share my recipe with you for Potjie Style Lamb Shank. I don’t think I can think of anything more South African than potjiekos, which essentially is cooking in one pot.
My version is slightly different, as I do not slave over hot coals (we leave that to the hubby), I use the oven to cook my lamb shanks but the essence of the cooking process is the same. If you wish you could cook this in a Potjie pot it works just as well!
Ingredients – Potjie Style Lamb Shank Recipe
A large oven proof casserole dish with a lid, I use my large Le Creuset Casserole.
• 4 – 6 free range lamb shanks (trimmed of excess fat)
• 5 large carrots (peeled)
• 1 large onion
• 2 cloves garlic
• 400 ml lamb stock
• 15 ml Worcestershire sauce
• ½ cup red wine
• 1 tin whole tomatoes (I use Woolworths whole peeled Italian tomatoes)
• 15ml tomato paste
• 1 Tbsp. thyme (you can use Woolworths freeze-dried or fresh thyme)
• Olive oil
• Salt & pepper
• Flour for coating the shanks
Instructions – Potjie Style Lamb Shank Recipe
1. Preheat your oven to 150⁰c.
2. If the lamb shanks have not yet been trimmed, then trim off all the excess fat and connective tissue. This allows the meat to brown evenly and prevents the meat from becoming tough.
3. Once you have trimmed the fat off the shanks, season your flour with salt and pepper and coat the shanks in the flour, dusting off excess flour before cooking.
4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole (I highly recommend Le Creuset pots – a worthwhile investment) on the stove and brown the shanks in batches. Remove from the pan and set aside.
5. Chop your onion and garlic and sauté over a medium heat until soft and lightly browned.
6. Peel and slice your carrots and add to the pan, continuing to cook over a medium heat, stirring often.
7. Add the dried thyme, lamb stock, Worcestershire sauce and red wine to the pot.
8. Puree your tinned tomatoes and add them, and the tomato paste, to the pot – stir to combine. I also add a teaspoon or two of brown sugar just to cut the acidity from the tomatoes.
9. Place the lamb shanks back in the pot, cover and place in a preheated oven at 150°c.
The cooking time may vary, depending on your oven, but I recommend 2½ to 3 hours, checking every ½ hour. If you wish you can add potatoes or other veg to the pot half way through the cooking time, but I prefer to keep it simple and serve the shanks on creamy mash potato.
The result should be a deliciously rich sauce, with meat that is falling off the bone. Serve on a bed of soft fluffy mashed potato.
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