The cold winter months are definitely upon us and some rich, comfort food is in order. So I'm going to share my recipe and tips on how to cook restaurant quality Braised Lamb Shanks, that fall away from the bone and melt in your mouth.
The secret is a long, slow cooking process and reducing the cooking liquor down to make a sticky sauce.
Braised Lamb Shanks
2 lamb medium shanks
10ml vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10g ground fennel seeds
50ml tomato paste
100ml red wine
2L veal or beef stock
2 thyme sprigs
20g butter, diced
First, roughly cut the three vegetables. The french term for this combination of aromatics is called "mirepoix" and is used as the base for a variety of stocks, soups, stews and sauces.
Sautee the mirepoix, garlic and thyme with vegetable oil in a medium to large saucepan.
Season the shanks with salt, pepper and fennel seed. Once the mirepoix is browned, add the shanks and seal them on all sides.
Next add the tomato paste and cook out for one to two minutes. Pour in the red wine. Using a wooden spoon free any sediment from the bottom of the pot. This is called "deglazing".
Reduce the wine by half. Cover the shanks with stock and bring to the boil.
Simmer for one and a half to two hours or until meat is tender and comes away from the bone. Rotate shanks if needed to ensure even cooking.
Once shanks are cooked remove from the saucepan and set aside.
Strain the cooking liquor into a shallow pan and reduce until thick, this is called the "jus". Skim any oil or sediment that comes to surface.
To finish the jus stir in the cold diced butter, this thickens and adds flavour.
Reheat the lamb in a low oven with a small amount of sauce to keep it moist.
Spoon the jus over the braised shanks and serve with your favourite winter vegetables.
I've chosen sweet potato and sweetcorn.