Sunday, 7 October 2012

Slow-cooked balsamic lamb shanks

Man have I got a hunger on me at the moment.  I think it's the change of the seasons. I just want to scoff scoff scoff. A biscuit here, a chunk of cheese there, half a jar of peanut butter between emails. My body is obviously trying to get a bit of lard on to see me through the winter months, which isn't necessarily required.

As previously discussed, I think Autumn is bloody excellent, but I'm sure September was unusually cold this year.  October is going the same way.  We've got the central heating on already, which according to Twitter is a major faux pas. Apparently if you don't turn the central heating on till November it makes you a better person and harder than Chuck Norris.  I don't care, our tough Canadian neighbours - who are used to proper snow - have turned theirs on, so it's OK.

Mr Mangrove is getting totally down with the whole wrapping-up warm thing. Have you ever seen a more sarcastic looking feline? He fits in well around here.

When I get properly ravenous, I think the only thing which can satisfy me (does that sound rude? Never mind, if it gets me a few more google hits....) is mashed potato.  Bloody love the stuff - Bodger and Badger have nothing on me.  Preferably served with a hunk of meat.  Roast chicken, sausages, pork chops, they're are all adequate adversaries, but nothing can be described as a 'hunk' quite like a lamb shank. It's a cheap cut, it's as big as your fist (or bigger, if you have tiny Beadle hands like me) and, if it takes your fancy, you can grab it in-hand, gnaw from the bone and declare yourself Henry VIII.  Of course, I didn't do that....definitely not.....V childish. 

So this certainly sorted me out: slow-cooked balsamic lamb shanks, with a good old dollop (dollop isn't the most appealing adjective is it? oh well) of mash. The photo at the top of the page is my attempt at cookbook-ish, whilst the below is the real life scenario; plate in lap, pyjamas on, excessive gravy, portion of greens to balance things out. That's how autumn should be.

Slow-cooked balsamic lamb shanks

3 lambs shanks (ours just happened to come in a pack of three, so we had left-overs)
About 150g flour
Slug of olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 large red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic
Half a bottle of red wine
120ml balsamic vinegar
1 tsp juniper berries (about 5 or 6 berries)
2 bay leafs
A couple of sprigs of rosemary

Mix a good few pinches of salt and pepper into the flour in a bowl.  Dip in your lamb shanks, until all the flesh has a light coating of the flour.  In a good sized casserole dish (which fits your shanks fairly  snugly) or heavy pan, heat your oil, then brown off the lamb shanks one by one. 

Fry your onions, until soft, then add in the garlic cloves and give it another minute.  Return the lamb to the pan, then add the remaining ingredients. The shanks should be about half covered by the liquid, so add a bit of water if needs be (or more wine, if you're feeling extravagant).

Put the casserole dish in the oven at gas mark 4. Then, sorry, but you've got three hours to wait. It'll give you time to peel ten tonnes of potatoes and make mashed potato mountain. Or you could read a book, or dick around on instagram, or annoy the cat. I'm pretty sure I did all of these things.

Every 30 mins or so, check how things are going. Baste and turn the meat, add more liquid if needed.  You'll know it's done when the meat is starting to fall off the bone and the juices have reduced/thickened.  Have a taste and see if it needs more seasoning, or watering down a bit. Then devour.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there. This week's Food on Friday is all about lamb! So it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.