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This is a very hearty and tasty soup which is made extra special as it is hidden under a blanket of crispy, fluffy and buttery puff pastry with just the shank bone peeking out. The smell of the spices when you break the crust is simply amazing. This is a recipe that lends itself very well to you playing around with the quantities to suit your taste, more curry, less curry, more liquid or more stewlike.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
4 lamb shanks
1 heaped tablespoon curry powder (depends on your preference-I use 2)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cm / 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1¼ L / 5 cups good beef stock (homemade is best)
1 lemon cut in half
1 large apple, peeled and sliced (granny smith works well)
700g / 1½ lbs baby potatoes, quartered
2 rolls of ready puff pastry
Fresh cilantro/coriander roughly chopped
1 beaten egg

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F
Melt the butter over medium high heat in a large ovenproof dish with a lid
Add the lamb and brown the shanks on all sides
Place the lamb on a plate
Reduce the heat to medium low
Add curry powder and cook while stirring for 1 to 2 minutes
Add oil, onion, leeks, garlic and ginger and cook for 3 minutes
Add the thyme, rosemary, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, beef stock, lemon and apple and stir well
Return the lamb to the dish and bring to a boil
Cover with a lid and place the dish in the oven for 2 hours
Add the potatoes and check if enough liquid – you can add a bit of hot stock if needed
Cover and return to the oven for another 45 to 60 minutes
Remove dish from oven and increase the temperature to 200C/400F
Portion the soup into 4 ovenproof large soup bowls discarding the lemon and place 1 shank in each with the bone sticking up
Sprinkle on some fresh cilantro
Unroll your puff pastry and cut out 4 circles a bit larger than the tops of your bowls
Brush some beaten egg on the rim of your bowls and place the pastry over the bowl allowing the bone to poke through the top
Press with your fingers on the edge of the pastry to help the pastry stick to the bowl and seal the edges
Brush the tops with the remaining egg
Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden
Serve immediately
Bon appétit !