For my dad.....spicy smoked paprika lamb shank goulash... a #letslunch tribute

My dad has been a big influence on my life.

Food and family were important to my dad.... one of the many things that I have inherited and learnt from him.   

Dad loved having people over enjoying lots of delicious food and wine over great conversation, sharing stories and jokes and often having a good dance.

My dad also loved to cook, especially food from his heritage including  holubtsi (Ukrainian pork stuffed cabbage rolls), sauerkraut and smoked sausage yet he also cooked a mean steak, whipped up lambs fry with tomato,garlic & chilli or  roasting the trout he’d caught on Lake Jindabyne.

My father also loved the land. When he came to Australia,  from the Ukraine, as a young boy he was stationed with my grandparents and his brother on a large sheep farm in Crookwell. There he spent many years adoring the country life and hoping one day to return.  In the 80’s he eventually achieved his dream of buying his own property ...a sheep farm in Inverell. 

Although we were all mostly  based in Sydney my dad would head to the farm every few weeks to get things done, and it also meant that every holidays we would all be up there helping. 

In my university years sometimes it was just my dad and I. Those times we shared brought us much closer as we would  spending countless hours together rounding up sheep, drenching sheep, sorting wool in the shearing shed, fixing fences, thistle bashing, picking blackberries and even catching our dinner ....however it was our love of food that truly deepened our relationship.    

During those days I'd take over the kitchen and cook up a storm .....without a cookbook in sight (and those were pre internet days !).  I got to teach dad a few things as I created new ways with rabbit, kangaroo, lamb and mutton.  He always joked that I’d have to come up with him every time as my cooking was delectably better than his standard fare of meat with gravy, basic stews and fry ups.  

Spicy smoked paprika lamb shank goulash was one of those creations we shared. Rich and filling with a hint of smokiness and spice....a comforting blessing on those cold winter nights on the farm. 

Sadly my father isn’t here to share this with me today as he passed away with pancreatic cancer a few years ago. However I know he is watching from above and wishing he was here sharing this dish again with me and a good glass of shiraz.

Vichnaya Pamyat Tato xx

 spicy smoked paprika lamb shank goulash

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 (about 2.8kg) hindquarter lamb shanks
6 large eschallots, finely sliced
2 red capsicums, trimmed, seeded, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 long red chillies, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Hungarian style sweet paprika
3 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
700g bottle good quality tomato passata
400g can cherry tomatoes
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
garlicky mash, to serve
sour cream, to serve

1 Heat oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium high heat. Add half the lamb shanks and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to a large bowl or plate. Repeat with remaining lamb shanks.

2  Add eschallots to the pan, cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add capsicum, garlic and chillies and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until softened.

3 Add hot smoked and sweet paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic.Add  bay leaves, marjoram, passatta, cherry tomatoes and sugar. Bring to the boil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven  for 2-2 1/2 hours or until the lamb shanks are tender.

4 Carefully transfer the lamb shanks to a large bowl  and cover to keep warm. Place the pot back on the stove and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally or until reduced (I also scraped down the sides of the pot to get all those delicious caramelised bits back into the sauce). Season with salt and pepper. Add lamb shanks and cook until heated through. Serve with garlicky potato mash and sour cream.

garlicky mash
1.2kg desiree potatoes, peeled
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup warm milk (I do this quickly in the microwave)
3 tablespoons butter

1 Place potatoes and garlic in saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain.  

2 Transfer potatoes and garlic into a potato ricer and push through into the saucepan. Add milk and butter and stir until combined and smooth.  Season with salt. 

This is my first post as part of #LetsLunch, a monthly Twitter based food blogger's virtual lunch club.

Our topic this month was paying tribute to our father's and as you now know for me it was a very poignant one. 
 If you'd like to join the LetsLunch group, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #LetsLunch.

Here's the links to all the other #letslunch read & enjoy!

Cheryl Lee Lou Mee Pok Ta at A Tiger in the Kitchen
Aleana‘s Homemade Scottish Oatcakes at Eat My Blog
Charissa‘s Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks & Uncle Andy’s Chimichurri Sauce at Zest Bakery
Eleanor‘s Salmon Bok Choy Soup at Wok Star
Emma‘s Ham and Rice at Dreaming of Pots & Pans
Jill‘s Root Beer-Glazed Onion Dip at Eating My Words
Grace‘s Taste of Diversity at HapaMama
Linda‘s Sesame-Ginger Chicken Wings at Spice Box Travels
Lisa‘s Hot Sugary Lip-Smacking Jam Donuts at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Patricia‘s Egg Candy at The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook
Rashda‘s Beth Howard’s Apple Pie at Hot Curries & Cold Beer

Emma has also put the collection up on Pinterest , thanks Em you're a star!