Lamb shanks with chickpeas


175g dried chickpeas
2 tbsp olive oil
4 lamb shanks (medium)
2 medium onions , chopped
2 tsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
3 garlic cloves , finely chopped
2 fresh green chillies , seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 large tomatoes , peeled, seeded and chopped
pinch of saffron strands
2cm/0.25in piece of cinnamon stick
450g carrots , cut into thick slices
140g ready-to-eat dried apricots
1 tsp clear honey

to serve

50g blanched almonds , fried in butter until browned
chopped fresh coriander


1. Soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain, tip into a saucepan and cover generously with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil, simmer for 45 minutes and drain.

2. Heat the oil in a large casserole and brown the lamb all over. Remove and set aside. Pour off most of the fat, leaving 1 tablespoon in the dish, add the onions and fry for 8-10 minutes until soft.

3. Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3/fan oven 140C. Mix together the ginger, garlic, chillies, cumin, coriander, pepper and paprika. Add half of this to the onions, tip in the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Put in the lamb and chickpeas, cover generously with water (about 850ml/11⁄2 pints), bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and cook in the oven for 11⁄2-2 hours until the chickpeas are really tender. (You can prepare up to this stage the day before. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Bring back to simmering point before starting step 4.)

4. Remove from the oven and stir in the remaining spice mixture, the saffron and cinnamon, carrots, apricots, honey and salt. Cover and return to the oven for 45 minutes-1 hour until the lamb is tender and the vegetables cooked. Scatter the almonds and coriander on top.


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