Braised (slow cooked) Lamb Shank “WINTER”
Winter is here! Time to nestle and hibernate….well some do! Time to reflect on the past…time to think…..tine to slow down…It is time to “SLOW COOK”. In Winter we want to enjoy full flavoured foods and drinks. We need more energy in order to keep our body functions (e.g. temperature) working. Around us everything slows down. Naturally our food preferences tend to lean more to soft, tender, rich and warming textures and flavours. Slow cooking is an ancient technique to prepare (making food palatable). E.g. pieces of meat were mixed with herbs and spices, then rolled up in leafs (like a parcel) before berried in the ground (e.g. beforehand adding hot stones or coal) and let “slow cook” for several hours. Firstly this technique is very simple to do because it cooks by itself and secondly the flavour of the meat (food) is succulent, moist, tender and full of flavour. Today we achieve the same outcome by braising (slow cook) pieces of food (preferably meat with bones – shanks, etc…) with spices, herbs and some liquid. Perfectly braised (slow cooked) meats will be tender, moist, full of flavour and most importantly the meat will “fall off the bone”.
The trick is too spend time in preparing the “sauce” (braising liquid – see recipe below) in order to enhance the flavour and aroma when braising (slow cooking) in the oven. Then ensure that the temperature is not too high – too fast!
PS: Do not “rush” (too high temperatures) cooking the dish as it will make the meat tough, rubbery and dry! Remember it is called “Slow cooking”
Here is my Recipe with step-by-step instructions. Have a go – the reward is amazing!
Quantity 4 Portion / Pieces (Main Course)
Time Preparation time: 30 – 45 minutes | Cooking time: 2 ½ – 3 hrs
QUANTITY UNIT PRODUCE
1000 GR Lamb shank (4 pc each a 250 GR)
10 GR Sea salt flakes (Maldon)
As needed Black pepper from black pepper mill
3 GR Paprika powder sweet
¼ PC Lemon fresh juice
10 ML Olive oil cooking
10 GR Flour white plain
20 ML Olive oil cooking
50 GR Onion white peeled cubed (small Mirepoix)
5 GR Garlic peeled crushed
50 GR Carrots peeled cubed (small Mirepoix)
30 GR Celery peeled cubed (small Mirepoix)
20 GR Leek white cubed (small Mirepoix)
1 PINCH Salt cooking
20 GR Tomato paste
150 ML Red wine cooking
100 GR Tomatoes chopped (can)
100 GR Tomatoes chopped (fresh)
4 PC Oranges juice, skin grated from 1 Orange
250 ML Veal or Beef stock (brown)
1 PC Bay leaf
1 PC Clove
5 PC Black peppercorn crushed
1 PC Juniper berry crushed
1 SPRIG Rosemary fresh
2 SPRIG Thyme fresh
1 SPRIG Oregano fresh
5 GR Sage leaves fresh
10 GR Parsley (flat) stem chopped
10 ML Balsamic vinegar (Modena)
AS NEEDED Sea salt flakes
AS NEEDED Black pepper from pepper mill
Mise en place / Pre-Preparation
- With knife (Butcher) make an incision from the top, slightly loosening up the meat from the bone (Best to get this done from your meat supplier / butcher).
- Season well with sea salt flakes, black pepper mill and paprika powder. Slightly marinate with lemon juice (fresh) and olive oil (cooking).
- Dust lamb shanks with flour, shake off well, then seal (sautéing) in preheated casserole on all sides (nice brown caramelized colour). Take out and keep aside, strain off excessive oil / fat from casserole.
- Add small mirepoix (except leek), season with salt (cooking) and glaze till golden brown, add tomato paste, continue glazing till dark brown, deglaze with 100 ml red wine and reduce by 50%. Add rest of red wine, orange juice tomatoes, stock and all spices (aromatics), bring to a boil, add lamb shanks (ensure that they are fully covered) bring back to a boil, cover with a lid and place in preheated oven (180 C) for the first 1 ½ hrs. During that time occasionally turn the lamb shanks in the braising liquid. After that turn down the temperature to 160 C and continue braise (slow cooking) the lamb shanks till the meat is tender (falling of the bone).
- Once the lamb shanks are cooked take them out and keep aside (warm place)
- Reduce the braising liquid till to a syrup like consistence, strain through a fine sieve (squeeze the Mirepoix through the sieve)
- Add Balsamic vinegar to a sauce pan and reduce by 60%, add braising liquid (sauce) bring to boil and season.
Remarks / Comments:
-Cover the lamb shank with the finished sauce, serve with Truffled Mushroom Polenta or Mashed Potato
-Goes well with a nice Pinot Noir or Grenache (Cotes du Rhone)
-The cooking time can be reduced by approx. 1/3 when using a pressure cooker
Chef and Guide Dog User Martin