Persian Lamb Shanks with Aubergine and Saffron Rice

Persian Lamb Shanks with Aubergine and Saffron Rice

© Lena Staal

Persian Lamb Shanks with Aubergine and Saffron Rice

Persian Lamb Shanks with Aubergine and Saffron Rice

© Lena Staal

For the lamb

Ingredients (Serves 4)

4
allspice berries
2
tablespoon
coriander seeds
1
stick
cinnamon, about 2cm
2
tablespoon
cumin seeds
2
lamb shanks
2
tablespoon
butter
3
onions, thinly sliced
1
thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3
tomatoes, chopped or 1 x 400g can peeled, chopped tomatoes
1
garlic bulb, cloves peeled but left whole
4
small aubergines, cut into 1cm cubes
salt

For the rice

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1
tablespoon
butter
pinch
saffron threads
175
g
basmati rice
250
ml
water

For the yoghurt

Ingredients (Serves 4)

100
ml
full-fat yoghurt
4
sprig
coriander, chopped, plus extra to serve
1
handful
mint leaves, chopped, plus extra to serve

Preparation:

  • In a dry pan, toast the allspice, coriander, cinnamon and cumin until they are fragrant and have taken on some colour, then grind into a powder in a mortar. 
  • Season the lamb shanks with salt. In a heavy-based casserole large enough to comfortably hold the shanks, fry the shanks in 1 tablespoon of the butter until they are browned all over. Remove and set aside.
  • Melt the remaining butter in the casserole and gently fry the onion and ginger, adding the ground spices for the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  • Add the tomatoes and use their liquid to loosen the browned bits from the base of the casserole using a wooden spoon.
  • Add the garlic cloves and lamb shanks to the casserole, cover with the lid and simmer over a low heat for about 45 minutes.
  • Carefully lift out the shanks then add the aubergines to the sauce. Stir well, then return the shanks to the sauce and continue to cook over low heat, covered, for a further 45 minutes, or until the shanks are very tender and the aubergines are soft.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the saffron rice: rinse the rice well and drain. Heat the butter in a saucepan and fry the saffron and rice in it for 3–4 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the water, bring to the boil, put the lid on, turn the heat down to very low and cook gently for 15 minutes.
  • Mix the yoghurt with the mint and coriander.
  • Lift the lamb shanks out of the casserole and leave to rest in a warm place.
  • Cook the aubergines and sauce over high heat until thickened to the desired consistency, about 5 minutes.
  • Serve the shanks with the aubergine and sauce, with saffron rice and herb yoghurt, and garnish with coriander and mint.