4 medium lamb shanks
8 tsp sea salt
4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 sprigs thyme
For the pesto:
75ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
50g pine nuts
2 bunches fresh basil
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp honey
Our love for lamb borders on obsession. I reckon that because our Karoo lamb has that specific flavour from eating wild mint and dry rosemary-like bushes, we have the best-tasting lamb in the world.
Don’t overcomplicate the ingredients. While at first the straightforward approach of doing simple lamb shanks with a nice pesto wouldn’t have occurred to me, I have realised the beauty of the food chain and to appreciate why established combinations work.
I thought I’d try it on the braai to give it a bit of that incredible smoky
flavour. If you cook it slowly, the fat starts to crisp. With lamb, when you taste it for what it is – especially on the shank because it’s so close to the bone – you get that incredible lamb flavour better than on other cuts. Rich lamb goes very well with something fresh and herbal so when braaied and served with a green sauce, it’s the perfect marriage – whether that sauce is pesto, salsa verde or even mint sauce. I also include something sweet by adding in wholegrain mustard.
Try make the onion and garlic surround the shank. It’s best if it’s not too tightly wrapped in foil – there needs to be some distance between the foil and the shank, to allow for better steaming and prevent hard roasting that will toughen the meat.
There can be no doubt about the fact that Reuben Riffel is one of South Africa’s most well-known and acclaimed chefs. With no less than five restaurants in his stable (Reuben’s in Franschhoek, Reuben’s at the Robertson Small Hotel, Reuben’s at the One & Only in Cape Town, Reuben’s at Abalone House in Paternoster and finally Racine in Franschhoek), Reuben has also become a household name as the face of Robertsons Herbs & Spices and his recent role as a MasterChef South Africa judge. This award-winning chef is also father to four cookbooks: Reuben Cooks: Food is Time Travel, Reuben Cooks Local (also published by Quivertree and winner of Best Chef’s Cookbook and photography respectively at the World Gourmand Awards in 2009 and 2012), Braai: Reuben on Fire (published by Quivertree and second-place winner of the Sunday Times Cook Book of the Year award 2014) and finally Reuben at Home. Key to Reuben’s success is his unsurpassed ability to marry South African and international cuisines via an eclectic but unpretentious approach, using only the best seasonal ingredients.More About The Author
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