Slow Cooked Thursday – Lamb Shank, Fennel and Vegetable Soup

I’ve missed these posts a couple of times lately. Thursdays have become quite hectic so I might think about moving this post to another night, that is after school goes back, for now (as of tonight) I’m on holidays!  I’m also on the hunt for slow cooker recipes that would be suitable for warmer weather, another job for my days off.  I’ve got one that I’m really looking forward to trying, but if anyone has good recipes or ideas for slow cooked spring/summer recipes I’d love to hear them.

On to this week’s recipe, another soup, but this one was a bit fancier than my usual concoction of random vegetables and did take a bit of pre-slow cooker preparation, but was well worth it.  It was super tasty and satisfying… I think even Miss Three tried this one!  This is another from the Woman’s Weekly Slow Cooking and I didn’t really change much from the original – very unlike me.

Olive oil
4 lamb shanks (or five if you’re like me and find them on sale in lots of 5)
1 brown onion, chopped
2 baby fennel bulbs, sliced
2 medium carrots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
2 small red chillies, chopped finely (I skipped them and for once I didn’t really miss it)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (also skipped only because I didn’t have any and forget it when I was shopping)
pinch of saffron threads
1.5 litres water
2 cups beef stock
400g tinned crushed tomatoes
400g tinned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 cup loosely packed coriander (which is far more than my meagre plant could provide, so I used parsley)

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the shanks and brown all over.  Once that’s done add the shanks to the slow cooker pot.

Add a little more oil to the same pan and cook the onion, fennel, carrots, garlic and chilli (or not) until the onion has softened.  Add in the spices and cook for a minute or two until fragrant and then put the whole lot in the slow cooker.  Add everything else except the peas and herbs and cook on low for ten hours.

Take the lamb shanks out after that time and leave aside until they are cool enough to handle.  Remove the meat and shred – which basically happens as you move the shanks as the meat is falling off the bones.  I also took out the sinewy and grisly bits at this point.  Add back into the pot with the peas and herbs, season with salt and pepper and serve with a lemon wedge (and Greek style yogurt if you remembered to get that from the supermarket as well).

It was definitely a meal in itself, especially with the addition of the chickpeas and surprisingly it wasn’t particularly heavy or especially wintry thanks to the lemon and herbs at the end.  This is definitely one of my favourite slow cooker recipes so far and even better the next day for lunch.



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3 Responses to Slow Cooked Thursday – Lamb Shank, Fennel and Vegetable Soup

  1. That looks like a lovely, warming, rich soup! 😀

  2. Yummy! I really must use more fennel. I’m not really a fan, but I subject the kids to silverbeet, so I should be braver myself.

    • Barbara Good says:

      I find if you cook the fennel gently (or slowly in this case) it loses some of its intensity. You might not even pick it in this soup. I’m got a great fan of it raw, though I do eat it every now and again.

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