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Vietnamese lamb shanks with sweet potatoes

Meltingly tender and full of classic Asian flavours, these lamb shanks are perfect for freezing

  • Prep: 20 mins
    Cook: 3 hrs
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 4 lamb shanks, about 350g each
  • 2 onions, halved and cut into half moons
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 red chillies, both deseeded, one chopped and one thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar, plus 1 tsp
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, then bruised
  • 1.2l lamb stock
  • 1½ tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into big chunks
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • juice 2 limes
  • big handful mint leaves, torn
  • handful basil leaves

Tip

Diana says...
'The warming aroma of star anise wafting through the house is an antidote to the more traditional Christmas scents. Stir-fried bok choi or Savoy cabbage and plain boiled rice are great on the side. This freezes well. Defrost completely before heating on the stove top and add the lime juice and herbs just before serving.'

Method

  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole, season the shanks, then brown them 2 at a time on all sides, adding the remaining oil for the second batch. Remove the lamb and add the onions. Fry them quite briskly, about 30 secs, add the ginger, garlic and chopped chilli, then turn the heat down and cook for 1 min. Add 1 tbsp sugar, stir, then add the star anise, lemongrass, stock, purée and seasoning. Bring to the boil.

  2. Cover and cook in the oven for 1½ hrs, then add the sweet potatoes and cook for 1 hr more. The lamb should be completely tender and almost falling off the bones. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice and 1 tsp sugar to just lift the flavour, then scatter with the mint, basil and the sliced chilli to serve.

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