I really, really love lamb. In terms of favourite foods it’s right up there, shining bright at number 1 on my list. Chops are great and roast leg of lamb is wonderful but I absolutely love braised lamb shank. It’s slow, patient cooking that has such a deep reward of the strong lamb. Tender and moist from being bathed in a lot of red wine for 2 or 3 hours. The flesh just falls off the bone and the gravy… oh the gravy!
Unfortunately I don’t eat lamb nearly as often as I would like. My girlfriend isn’t a fan (no-one’s perfect I guess) so unless I’m cooking for one or in a restaurant I don’t really get to cook it. A lack of appetite due to illness on her part provided me with the opportunity this weekend which I didn’t hesitate to take! A few hours of torture followed while I could smell it cooking in the oven but the wait was definitely worth it.
A single lamb shank
A couple of carrots cut into large chunks
Bottle of red wine
250ml of water or stock
2 cloves of garlic
2 or 3 potatoes
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
Warm a casserole dish on the hob and brown the shallots in some oil.
Remove the shallots, dust the lamb shank with some seasoned flour and brown it in the dish then add the shallots back in along with the carrots.
Pour in half of the wine (the rest is for consuming while you wait) and the water/stock (I confess I just used the wine for the dish in the photograph, but not adding the extra liquid was probably a mistake).
Add in a sprig of rosemary, 2 anchovies, a bay leaf and bash the garlic then throw that in as well.
Season then cover the dish and place in the oven for 2 hours. Check it after an hour and a half and if the liquid is getting a bit low add some water. Or more wine.
Remove the cover after 2 hours to reduce the liquid and add some colour to the lamb.
At the same time peel some tatties and boil them in a pan with a clove of garlic.
Once the tatties are soft, drain then mash them with some butter, salt and pepper. Add in some parsley and milk and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, adding more milk until the mash is creamy.
Remove the casserole dish from the oven. Put the lamb and carrots on a warm plate with the mash then place the casserole dish back on the heat to thicken the sauce.
Once the sauce is sufficiently reduced throw in a small knob of butter, stir it into the gravy then strain into a jug.
Pour the gravy over the lamb and serve.