As I sit here in a smug ‘I-never-buy-prepackaged-minced-meat’ glow of hubristic self-satisfaction I remind myself of the numerous times I’ve gleefully chowed down on a Big Mac.
Or that time I noticed strange holes and watery bits in the ‘chicken’ in my ‘chicken korma’, which turned out to be injection holes used to plump the meat with brine before shipping from the continent to the wholesalers in south London.
Or the time we found a slug in the prepackaged salad. Or the eyeball in the salmon mousse. Alright the last one is a joke. Haha.
Anyway we nearly always eat Quorn mince in this house so unless they are sticking dogs and cats in that then we feel pretty safe with our lasagne.
And that brings me to my point. Which I don’t have, as regular readers will already be aware. (They just want to see whether I cocked up the cooking in this post). So here is a (not so) quick, easy and delicious Sunday dinner solution – lamb shanks, which I’ve done before but I didn’t like the photo; you couldn’t see the lamb in that one.
What you need
- 2 Biggish Lamb Shanks
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 leek
- 2 onions
- Old carrots
- Garlic cloves
- ½ bottle red wine
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 pint chicken stock
For the puree (or mash)
- 6 parsnips
- Drizzle of honey
- Couple of spoons of double cream
- Fresh parmesan
First off marinate the lamb shanks in the red wine for an hour or two. Lamb shanks come from the bottom of the leg – the muscle is well used and so needs hours of cooking at a relatively low temperature. Marinating beforehand helps things along a bit.
Fry the shanks in some oil in a casserole for 5 mins so the meat seals a bit and you get some nice brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Remove the shanks, add some more oil and then fry the chopped vegetables until they start to brown. Add back the shanks, moving the veg around to make sure the meat sits right down in the pot. Add the stock and wine marinade and then thyme:
Put in the oven for 2 to 3 hours, depending on the amount of food you are cooking. Near the end of the cooking time (say half an hour to go), peel the parsnips and cut in half. Cover with olive oil and coat well with your fingers. Arrange on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with honey:
Bake in the oven for 2o mins or so. Remove from the tray and put in a pan:
Roughly chop and add the cream and parmesan:
Simmer very gently for a while.
Meanwhile remove the shanks from the pot and cover with foil and leave in a warm place (like the top of the stove). Pass the veg and sauce through a seive then return the liquid to the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer, until you have reduced the liquid to a consistency of your liking:
Meanwhile use a hand whisk to blitz the parsnip. Once mushed use a food ring to place a big dollop on a plate:
Remove the ring and place a shank on top:
Pour the sauce over the shank and watch as the meat sinks slowly into it’s parsnip bed:
I’m not one for worrying too much about which wine to serve with which food, however on this occasion it would be verging on criminal to eat this with anything other than a nice strong Australian red:
The important thing about lamb shanks is that the meat falls off the bone; that you can cut into it with a spoon, so to speak:
Yes that’s the way it should be!