When I first read this recipe I got filled with scepticism. How can it possibly taste good? It contains no wine, let alone stock. The concoction will probably be bland and boring. Unfortunately, it was high time for a change in the lamb shank department which we usually drown in red wine, stock and some tomato purée. Wanting to get out of the rut I went ahead and cooked this recipe.
I have often wondered what people ate in medieval times. How could they have had good food if they didn’t even own a fraction of all the tools and gadgets we have in this day and age? I am now certain that if you were rich enough to get your hands on lamb shanks you would have eaten like a king. After all, all you need is a knife, pot and fire. This recipe is simple and the full flavour of the lamb comes out through the slow cooking at a low temperature.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Thyme, Roast Carrots and Baby Onions
Preparation: 10 mins – Cooking: 2 hrs 30 mins
- 4 lamb shanks
- 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
- 4 carrots, cut into 2.5cm (1 in) chunks
- 12 baby onions, peeled
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 30ml (2 tbsp) butter
- 5ml (1 tsp) fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 150°C (fan 130°C/300°F/gas 2).
- In a heavy-based flameproof casserole, brown the shanks on all sides in the oil. Remove the shanks and brown the carrots and onions. When the vegetables are golden brown, remove them and reserve. Return the shanks to the casserole, with the thyme sprigs and 30ml (2 tbsp) of water, and season with a little salt. Cover and place in the oven. Cook the shanks for 1½ hours, turning occasionally.
- Now return the carrots and onions to the casserole and cook for another hour. Remove the shanks and vegetables and keep warm.
- Strain the cooking juices into a small saucepan. Using a ladle, or spoon, remove any visible fat from the top of the juices. Now boil the liquid until it has a light sauce consistency. Remove it from the heat and stir in the butter and thyme leaves. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary.
- To serve, season the shanks lightly with salt and arrange on warm plates. Surround with the carrots and onions and pour over the sauce.
Serve with mashed potatoes or champ.