Lamb Shanks Ufa

My series of dishes named after Eastern Bloc cities and regions has taken you to DubrovnikVojvodinaTelavi, and now… Ufa, the capital of Bashkiria. The Bashkirs, just like the Tatars who also live there, are a Turkic ethnic group. As I was browsing in the aisles of the NYU library recently, I realized that not only did Bashkiria release nicely illustrated cookbooks like this one, but there were also some very interesting recipes. These lamb shanks and the accompanying roll are an adaption of a couple dishes combined together. Now, I’ve never been to Ufa (yet), but I shall not let this minor detail prevent me from proclaiming myself an authority in Bashkir cuisine!

I cook the lamb shanks in a pressure cooker, which makes them very moist and tender in a mere 45 minutes. You can use the pressure cooker to make lamb stock too, just buy a couple pounds of lamb neck bones and some extra vegetables. The stock and the filling for the Bashkir roll can be prepared a day in advance.

Bashkir roll filling
Yields 4 servings

6 oz carrot, small dice
4 oz onion, small dice
1 oz olive oil
1/2 tsp ground star anise
1/4 tsp Urfa pepper
8 oz lamb, ground
10 oz lamb stock

  • In a saucepan over high heat, sauté the carrot and onion in the olive oil until soft. Mix oin the ground star anise and Urfa pepper,  add the ground lamb, and cook until brown, stirring constantly. Add the lamb stock, cover, and cook for 1 hour over very low heat.
  • Remove the lid, then cook over medium heat until completely reduced. Let cool and reserve.

Bashkir roll
Yields 4 servings

1/2 egg
3 oz water
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz flour
egg wash (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 oz water)
filling

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fit with the paddle attachment, place the egg, water, salt, and 1/2 of the flour. Mix over low speed until homogenous, then add the rest of the flour and mix again. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and mix for 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
  • On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 1/16″ thick, 9″ x 15″ rectangle. Brush the dough with egg wash and spread the filling. Roll into a tight 9″ oblong log and reserve.

Lamb shanks Ufa
Yields 4 copious servings

4 lamb shanks
2 medium turnips, peeled and halved
4 medium carrots, peeled
4 medium parsley roots, peeled
2 large leeks, halved lengthwise
2 celery branches, halved
1 large fennel bulb, quartered
1 oz salt
2 qt lamb stock

  • Arrange the lamb shanks and all of the vegetables into a pressure cooker. Sprinkle with the salt and cover with the lamb stock. Close the cooker and bring to full pressure over high heat. Reduce to low heat, and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let the pressure come down by itself.
  • While cooking the lamb shanks, steam the Bashkir roll for 30-40 minutes, until very soft.
  • Slice the Bashkir roll, and serve with the lamb shanks, vegetables and broth.
  • Optional: you can brown the shanks under the broiler of a very hot oven for a few minutes just before serving.