I’M just back from Ireland and wow, is it an amazing place. But what’s more — my favourite cut of lamb, the lamb shank, was featuring on menus at all the regional restaurants there.
This meaty cut of lamb from the lower leg has always been fought over by lamb lovers. Shanks are found attached to the whole leg joint, which is brought for roasting. Always considered to be an inexpensive cut of meat – celebrity chefs and gastro pubs have now reinvigorated its profile as a top class cut of lamb. It can be cooked in a number of ways, from roasting it with the whole leg, slowly braising the shank in a rich red wine sauce or striping the meat and cooking it as a stew. Either way, the flavour and the tender meat are unforgettable.
The UK produces some of the best lamb on the market. Just take a look around at the lush pastures for an abundance of rich feed for the lambs to graze upon, producing tasty and tender meat.
Now my fave is salt marsh lamb, which is produced on the lush green pastures that are constantly lashed by the cold easterly winds from the sea. These winds cover the pastures with a fine blanket of salt and give the meat an unmatchable depth of flavour and quality. Wales and Scotland are famous for salt marsh lamb. Salt marsh lamb can be found in good butchers and it’s worth paying the little extra per kilo, but only from a good butcher you can trust.
This week I am going to share with you my braised lamb shanks in red wine and rosemary. Ask your butcher to French trim the shanks giving them their distinct appearance when cooked.
These shanks will take a few hours to cook and will serve up to six mates. Serve with a big bowl of creamy mashed potatoes and crusty bread. So let’s get to it, happy cooking and enjoy!
Braised lamb shanks in red wine and rosemary
What you need:
- 6 lamb shanks, French trimmed
- Good splash of olive oil
- ½ bottle of red wine
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 garlic bulb chopped in 4
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 litres of beef stock from good supermarkets
- 55g ice cold butter
- Salt and ground black pepper
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 160° degrees.
Sprinkle a chopping board with salt and freshly ground pepper, then roll each lamb shank over the board .
In a large ovenproof casserole dish, heat the oil. Once hot, two at a time, brown the lamb shanks. Remove the lamb shanks and keep to one side. Pour in the red wine; bring to a gentle boil, leave to simmer until reduced by half. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary and finally the lamb shanks.
Pour in enough beef stock to cover the meat, don’t worry if the bones are sticking out, any left over stock can be used for topping up during the braising time.
Bring back to a simmer then cover the dish and place in the oven. Cook for three hours, checking from time to time that the meat is still covered in stock and top up as necessary and also occasionally turn the shanks.
Once cooked, remove the shanks and then keep warm.
Place the casserole on the hob and bring to a boil, boil for five minutes. Check the seasoning then strain the sauce. The sauce should be thick and glossy. Enjoy!