What secret treasures lie at the back of your spice cupboard?
That my spice cupboard is a little out of control is an understatement.
So last week, when the door would no longer shut, I decided it was time for a self-intervention. I refilled jars from half-open packages, discarded a couple of mystery items with no labels (and no smell — meaning they were old, anyway), condensed and re-organized my inventory.
Along the way, I discovered a few beauties I had forgotten about. Bought, for the most part, on creative culinary whims. I left them on the counter after I had put everything else away and closed the door. I do that a lot with ingredients I don’t know what to do with — keep them in the open where I can see them and ruminate for a couple of days.
My most recent meditation resulted in a most delicious dinner. I rubbed two big lamb shanks down with my mix of obscure spices (see below), then, without bothering to brown them first, I put them in the slow cooker on high with a splash of stock for about three hours.
When the meat was falling off the bone, I pulled it apart with two forks, tossed it with a small sliced onion, 1/4 cup of chopped fresh oregano and kosher salt, then popped it under the broiler until the edges of the meat were just starting to crisp. We had it on flatbread with chopped sorrel from the pot on our deck and a little tomato…and even without the planned tzatziki (I read a few more pages in my book instead), it was fantastic.
Below is the mix of spices I used in my rub…if you don’t have everything, don’t worry! Use my mix as inspiration for your own. Maybe you have some pomegranite molasses hanging around instead of seeds? You may not have za’atar, but I bet you have dried thyme…and maybe a few sesame seeds?
Lamb Shank Rub for Homemade Gyros/Donairs: