Wednesday, 29 April 2015


Lamb Shanks In Red Wine and Summer Berries

Ingredients (to feed 2):

2 Lamb shanks on the bone
2 Banana shallots finely chopped
2 Cloves of garlic finely chopped
150g Mixed summer berries such as raspberries, blackberries, blue berries etc
(Waitrose sell packs of frozen summer berries)
Large glass of red wine
2 Carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
50g Small garden peas or petite pois
Handful of parsley (about 6-8 sprigs)
The same sized handful of thyme
1 Sprig of rosemary
1 Bay leaf

The cooking:

This dish is suitable for a slow cooker as well as a conventional oven. Start by seasoning your lamb shanks with plenty of freshly ground salt and pepper. Set aside for a few minutes. Then, melt a knob of butter in a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Lay the lamb shanks in and seal on all sides. Keep turning them every 2 minutes until they are golden/brown on all sides and underneath. Set aside in your slow cooked, or in a casserole dish. Next, de-glaze the frying pan by adding a small glass of water to it, and stirring it gently over the heat for a minute, to absorb all the meat juices and and bits from the pan. Pour over the shanks.

Next, add another knob of butter to the pan. Throw in the shallots and lightly fry for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and the berries. Turn the heat up and stir. Then add your wine and cook on the high heat until it has reduced down (about 4 to 5 minutes). Then pour over the shanks. Add your chopped carrots and lace all the herbs on one side (to make them easy to pull out once cooked). Finally top it up with water from the kettle so it nearly covers everything (just islands of meat sticking out of the top).

If you are using a slow cooker, put the lid on and cook on the "low" setting all day (approx 6 to 8 hours). If you are using an oven, put the lid on your casserole dish and place in an oven at 120 degrees c for 5-6 hours. Check it every couple of hours to make sure it does not dry out.

The only problem with slow cookers, is that they tend to produce watery sauces. So if you have opted for this method of cooking, when you are ready to serve up, thicken up your sauce first. I would do this by putting a sieve over a large jug and pouring the contents of the slow cooker through it. All the juices will pass through. All the meat and veg gets left behind. Return the meat and veg to the slow cooker (but turn it off), just to keep it warm. In a pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add to it 2 table spoons of cornflour and stir into a paste over a medium heat. Then, gradually add the juices from the jug to it. No more than a cup full at a time. Every time you add some sauce, stir it with a whisk until it is all absorbed and then add the next. Keep going until you have used all the sauce then turn up the heat and whisk continuously until you get the consistency you want. Like a gravy.

Serve up with fresh green savoy cabbage, fine beans and some creamy mash potato.

A couple of variations you may want to try. If you find this sauce too quite bitter, then 10 minutes before serving up, stir in a tablespoon of honey to make it a sweet sauce. You can also add mustard to it if you want a bit more bight. its up to you really.

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