Ten minutes of effort
Weekends I plan to spend time in the kitchen, cooking something elaborate without the time pressures of a work day week. But ofcourse other things intervene and I end up just as rushed as I am during the week. I bought some lamb shanks at the butcher in the morning thinking that I would make some slow cooked lamb thing. When it was time to cook I was a tad distracted by a good book I had just started. I thought I would just get it started quickly and then spend a bit more time and energy on it in just a little while, after few more pages of my book. So I heated up the trusty Le Creuset dish and added in some olive oil. I threw in a cinnamon stick, some cloves, peppercorns, a black cardamon pod and some bay leaves. I added in the lamb shanks and browned them on all sides. While they were browning I chopped up an onion and a little piece of giner and threw them in as well so they could brown up a bit too. I added a can of tomatoes and a couple of tablespoons of some Baharat spice mix (a Lebanese/middle eastern spice mix). Stirred it around and then covered the dish and popped it into the oven.
I meant to check on it in an hour and add some chick peas or something to it. I really did. But my book would not let me leave my warm cozy bed. So it ended up being closer to two hours before I looked at it again. It had gone past the point of chick peas and was looking pretty darn fine. As I was staring at it and wondering what Sam the wanna be vegetarian would eat for dinner given that this pot was looking decidedly meat-ish…the kids and Andrew came home and Sam loudly announced that something smelled delicious! Hmm…wonder if I can just get him to eat this tonight. He took one look and declared that he would only eat a tiny bit of meat. Ok said I the devious mum…afterall, lamb shanks look a LOT smaller when you take the meat off the bone. Hmmm. I am supportive, I really am….but when it requires me to cook an additional meal when I could be reading my book instead….
So I gave up on the idea of chickpeas and threw in some butter beans instead as they only needed a few minutes. Added some fresh parsley and corriander for a bit of greenery. Tara was doing her dying swan routine demanding instant food so I quickly made up some cous cous for them to eat with the lamb shanks. And three minutes later, there it was. Hugely popular with the family. Lots of unsolicited compliments. Which rather peversely, rather irritated me. All those times I put in a lot of time and effort and get barely a grunt out of them, or a positive comment but only after I have asked. And this time, no effort, no care taken to balance flavours, textures, etc….and it brings out the compliments.
But truth be told it did not need any care or attention from me. Slow cooking took care of the flavour and texture AND left me free to read my book!