I've had the idea of a Middle-Eastern-inspired lamb shank recipe bouncing around in my head for a while, and when the nice chaps at Just Ingredients got in touch and asked if I'd like to try some of their products, it was the perfect opportunity. I've used their ground cloves, cinnamon and cardamom pods to scent the rich meat in this dish, which is balanced out by the zing and freshness of the rice. Cooking the lamb with the rice at the end means that the flavours really have a chance to build and the meat ends up incredibly moist.
2 lamb shanks
4 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
1 tsp Just Ingredients ground cloves
1 tsp Just Ingredients ground cinnamon
The seeds of 2 Just Ingredients cardamom pods
To make the rice:
300g risotto rice
2 fat garlic cloves
1 tsp turmeric
2 pints lamb stock, or chicken if you don't have lamb
4 whole Just Ingredients cardamom pods
1 Just Ingredients cinnamon stick
Fresh coriander and lemon juice, to serve
Start by mixing the yoghurt, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom seeds, then smear generously over the lamb and leave to marinate in an ovenproof dish for a couple of hours. When you're ready to cook, preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan), cover the dish with tinfoil and roast the meat for about two hours. Once the time is up, remove the dish from the oven and put it to one side for the meat to rest, while you make the rice.
Peel and finely dice the onions and garlic, and then get them sizzling in a saucepan with a generous scoop of butter. Once the onion starts to soften, sprinkle the turmeric over the top and stir through, and then add the rice. Allow it to fry for a minute or two, stirring regularly (you may need to add more butter, to stop it sticking) and then pour in about two thirds of the lamb stock, add the cardamom pods, the cinnamon stick and a good pinch of salt, and bring to the boil.
Allow the rice to bubble away for about five minutes, stirring every now and then, until about half of the water has been absorbed. Place the lamb shanks in the saucepan, upright with the bones sticking out, and leave it to bubble for a little longer, until the rice is perfectly cooked - this will probably take between ten and fifteen minutes. Add the rest of the lamb stock a bit at a time, as necessary to stop it sticking. The aim is to get to the point where the rice is perfectly cooked without having too much extra liquid sloshing around, so you might not need all of it.
To serve, remove the meat from the bones with a sharp knife. Sprinkle the rice with lemon juice and top with a scattering of coriander leaves.