Date Night (or really…Fig Night)

Walnut and Fig Braised Lamb
(adapted from Alastair Hendy’s recipe in The Accidental Foodie by Neale Whitaker)

  • 1.5lb lamb shank – bone in
  • Olive oil
  • 2 onions, each sliced into 4 thick discs
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons Egyptian baharat (use 1 tablespoon first, then check seasoning and adjust when you check the water level halfway through cooking…I used almost 2 tablespoons total)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks image
  • 3 strips orange rind
  • 500 ml water (or as needed)
  • 5 dried figs
  • 12 walnut halves
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat oil in a wide casserole and brown lamb all over, adding salt and pepper.
  2. Remove from the heat and take lamb out of the pot. Line the bottom of the pot with the onion slices, then place lamb back in, over the onions.
  3. Sprinkle baharat over everything. Tuck the orange rind and cinnamon sticks around the lamb.
  4. Pour water in, just enough so the meat sits in a shallow puddle. Season again and return to the hob. Allow to boil, and then transfer immediately to an 180C oven and leave it to slowly braise for about 2 1/2 – 3 hours (until meat is very tender).
  5. Halfway through cooking, check the water level to make sure it hasn’t dried up. At this point check seasoning and adjust as needed. Add figs and nuts during the last hour.

2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

This dish is fantastic! I used it for a nice romantic dinner night. I served it with roasted sweet potatoes (cut into chunks, oil, salt and pepper in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes) and some oven-braised artichokes (one can with salt, pepper, garlic sprinkled over top – in the same oven with the lamb for 30 minutes) Enjoy!!


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