2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 lamb shanks (approx. 400g each)
2 red onions, sliced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp plain flour
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3cm chunks
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
50g juicy raisins
500ml full-bodied red wine (or use lamb stock for children)
500ml hot lamb stock
1 medium egg, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the topping:
350g all-butter puff pastry
A little plain flour, for dusting
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp black onion seeds, for sprinkling
Heat the oil in your casserole pan over a high heat and add the lamb shanks. Take care to turn each shank regularly until the meat is an even golden brown. Spend a good few minutes doing this; it is worth it for the extra flavour. Remove the shanks from the pan and set aside.
Add the chopped onions to the empty pan and fry over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes or until they begin to soften. Stir in the garlic, coriander, chilli flakes, cumin and paprika and continue to cook for about 30 seconds, then add the tomato purée.
Add the flour, carrots, chickpeas and raisins, then give everything a good stir and a healthy dose of salt and pepper. Pour over the red wine and hot stock and return the lamb shanks to the casserole pan. Cover with the lid and reduce the heat to its lowest setting. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2½–3 hours or until the lamb is falling off the bone and the liquid has reduced. Set aside to cool.
Spoon out the lamb shanks on to a plate and transfer the saucy vegetables to your ovenproof pie dish. Using your hands or the back of a spoon, prise the meat from the lamb shanks, tear into bite-sized pieces and add to the dish. Arrange the naked bones sticking up in the centre of the dish (which will create a steam hole) and set aside to cool completely, preferably overnight in the fridge; the flavour only improves with a bit of sitting around.
When you are ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6. Roll out your pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 5mm thick and cut out a lid a little larger than the top of your dish. Brush the edges of the dish with beaten egg and lay the pastry on top, using a knife to make holes for the bones to peek through. Gently press the pastry on to the edges of the dish.
Cut leaves from the pastry trimmings and use them to decorate the top of the pie, sticking them on with beaten egg. Brush the entire pie with more beaten egg, and sprinkle with black onion seeds. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the gravy is bubbling up out of the steam holes.
The Higgidy Cookbook by Camilla Stephens is published by Quercus at £16.99 please add to this: For more information visit www.higgidy.co.uk