There's been a very lamby theme to these past couple of dishes. That isn't necessarily by design, but being Greek, my love for lamb is huge, so cooking it in any form is always a treat. That me really happy this weekend at home. With the parents out of town, my mom left behind half a dozen lamb shanks and asked me to make something Mongolian-themed.
Mongolian cuisine is quite similar to Chinese cuisine in terms of ingredients, but more like Thai cuisine in terms of style. It goes for a balance of the five flavors like Thai food does, but a lot more fermented products and sauces are used in comparison to the freshness of Thai dishes. This makes it a lot more optimal for braising because the sauces can reduce and enrich in flavor, whereas fresher ingredients would break down and give off undesirable flavors.
This dish takes lamb shanks to a Mongolian side while still holding true to the Italian style of braising that the lamb shank is known for. The result is a rich flavor that can't be compared to in any other type of dish in my opinion. For best results, serve the shanks with rice that you cook in some of the extra braising liquid. It will take on the flavors just as well and make it amazing!
Recipe serves 6 people.
6 lamb shanks
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1 cup ginger, roughly chopped
3 cups carrots, roughly chopped
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 cups Passata tomato puree (very loose)
4 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese 5 spice
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 tablespoon dried chili flakes
1 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sweet soy sauce
1 tbsp Chili bean paste
3 cloves minced garlic
Pepper to season (There's enough salt in the soy sauce already)
1. Marinate the lamb shanks in all but 2 tbsp of the soy sauce, half of the sesame oil, all of the ginger, 5 spice, coriander, sugar, garlic, and chili flakes. Mix well and let sit in the fridge overnight for the flavors to develop.
2. Add some vegetable oil to a large hot pan. Make sure the pan you use has some depth to it (unless you are using a Crockpot/slow cooker for this dish). Sear the lamb shanks for about 2 minutes on each side, then remove from the pan.
3. While the lamb shanks are searing, place your vegetable stock in the marinade container and mix in all of the ingredients from the marinade.
4. After the lamb shanks are done, add carrots to your empty pan, along with the remaining sesame oil and the chili bean paste. Cook for 2 minutes, then deglaze the pan with your soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sweet soy sauce, and hoisin.
5. Add in your chicken stock mix and tomato puree, then bring up to a boil. At this point, if you are using a CrockPot/slow cooker, place the lamb shanks in then cover with the liquid and turn on high for at least four hours. If not, simply add the lamb shanks back into the pan, and slightly cover. Bring down to a simmer for four hours.
6. Take the lamb out of the liquid. Serve with your starch of choice and some braising liquid over the top, as it makes an amazing sauce.
Lamb shanks in the slow cooker. Sorry it's messy.
This dish definitely has a lot going on, but everything contributes to getting a rich balance of flavors and intensity of the lamb. The lamb does a great job taking on all of the flavors, and it really does taste like a braised lamb shank from Italy- but with a spiced Mongolian kick.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =)