Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Lamb Shanks - Slow Cooked - - (Plus a Soup) !

Well - I started off thinking I would make a stew by cutting my lamb shanks into chunks - but the first shank I did was so fiddly, and needed so many bits and sinews cutting off that I abandoned doing the second one. So I kept one whole plus the decent bits of meat for the casserole from the other one. The bone and bits I had left, I used to make a lamb and barley soup* (delicious - but really needs to be left a day before it matures and tastes better!) The casserole recipe is a fairly cheap dish, 'specially when you can get a soup out of it as well. Using two medium sized lamb shanks, you can probably feed 3 small appetites or 2 large ones!

Ingredients for Lamb Shanks Stew/Casserole:
2 medium lamb shanks
2-3 tbsl. olive oil
1 carrot - sliced
1 onion - sliced
2 sticks of celery - sliced
1/2 lemon - juice and finely grated zest
glug of Maple Syrup - to taste
couple of bayleaves, some thyme (fresh or dried) or mixed herbs
couple of cloves of garlic - crushed
a few sun-dried tomatoes (I used the ones in olive oil)
approx. 3/4 litre of water/stock/some wine or sherry if you fancy (mixture)
Seasoning (salt and pepper)
A few whole small peeled potatoes

Saute the vegetables, except the potatoes, & garlic until just softened
Add the tomatoes, stock, lemon juice/rind, a little of the Maple Syrup (can add more later if not sweet enough for your taste)
Bring gently to the boil and simmer until just a little reduced.
Meanwhile brown the shanks/meat pieces in another pan and add to the veg. mix once done.
Add your whole peeled spuds - (which will go lovely and brown in the cooking).
Gently shake the pan so the spuds get some covering of the juices.

Cover casserole or pan with a lid and place in your oven at about 120 deg.C for at least 2-2.1/2 hrs. (or longer)
Shake the casserole from time to time and check how soft the meat is - check for seasoning of course.

Delicious comfort food served with flageleots (with added butter, S&P and crushed garlic).

Lamb & Barley Soup*
The ingredients are virtually the same as the above ....... I also actually threw in the remnants of the half lemon!
olive oil
1 carrot - sliced
1 or 2 onions sliced
2-3 sticks of celery - sliced
couple of garlic cloves - chopped
couple of bayleaves
Medium Squidge of tomato puree
Handful of pearl barley
Seasoning, herbs to choice
I used Chicken Stock powder (Telma) to make up my stock, and added enough water to make a soup! (Sorry I cant be more accurate!)
Adjust your seasoning to the amount of liquid used.

Saute your veggies until softening
Add your shank bone and bits of meat left (or just use one whole shank)
Brown the meat a little, shaking the pan so the veggies dont stick and get brown.
Add your hot stock and rest of the ingredients
The meat should be falling off the bone when done, and this can be served in the soup.

Leave to simmer - more or less a couple of hours - until you're satisfied with it!
You can drink this the same day, but I usually leave it overnight in the fridge and skim of the excess fat the next day, bring it to the boil again and use as required.

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