Lemon juice and mint balance the warmth of the spices in this dish / LISA BARBER
Serves 4

The warmth of the spices in this dish are counterbalanced by the lemon juice and mint. Make it in advance if you like, as it is almost better when reheated – just add the rice upon reheating.

4 lamb shanks, trimmed of all fat
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 small green chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 sticks of cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into generous pieces
3 fresh bay leaves
1 litre/13/4 pints chicken stock
150g/5oz short-grain rice
A pinch of salt
1 bunch of mint, leaves only
The juice of half a lemon

Season the meat generously. Place a large pan on a medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the lamb and brown well all over. This will take about 15 minutes.

Remove the shanks and set aside in a warm place. Pour off any fat from the pan, turn down the heat slightly and add the onions, spices, garlic, carrots and bay.

Cook gently, stirring now and then, until the onions are soft. Return the meat to the pan, pour over the stock, place a lid on and turn the heat to low.

Cook very gently for an hour and a half. Check now and then to ensure the liquid has not evaporated too much; if it has, add a little water, return the lid and continue cooking.

Add the rice and cook for 20 minutes more; it should retain a little bite. Taste, and adjust the seasoning; a good pinch of salt brings out all the spicy flavours. Then add the mint, squeeze over the lemon juice and serve.