Sheila Lukins’s All Around the Word cookbook is one of my faves. Her passion for travel experienced through food has always satisfied my explorer-self. It seems she recreated most of the recipes in the book from memory, deconstructing exotic flavors into detailed stories over and over for her readers.
The book was published in 1994, back when I had time to sift through its pages and fantasize about a trip to Thailand or Spain to experience Sheila’s dishes first-hand. Now I reach for the book when I’m feeling a little adventurous, ready to escape to a faraway place through a new sensation to the palate.
Tonight’s dinner was reportedly Sheila’s favorite recipe from this book: Spiced Peloponnesian Lamb Shanks. I’m a late-comer to lamb. My mother never served it because my parents didn’t care for it. I didn’t taste lamb until I worked in a restaurant in Dublin the summer after college (a story for another time). In the years since I’ve made roast leg of lamb, lamb stew and lamb burgers, even lamb chops once or twice. Lamb shanks were a whole new game.
I had planned this long-cooking menu for Sunday, but the Super Bowl got in the way. A busy afternoon didn’t leave time to plan ahead, 2.25 hours, for browning the shanks, braising in the oven, and prepping the sides. Yet again, deli chicken came in handy as we watched a bit of the game. I was home in time to start dinner early so tonight was our treat.
Natural lamb shanks from PCC in a spiced sauce of cinnamon sticks, honey, sage, onions and garlic, loaded with prunes and tomatos. Served atop Sheila’s lemon orzo with a side of green beans. Sheila was right. It was worth the wait.