It’s been a long time since I last updated, but not without reason… I have moved yet again, this time from Miami back to my hometown Derry in Northern Ireland.
May was all about packing up and shipping everything, followed by a couple of weeks on holiday photographing California with Creative Escapes and then, of course, a good few leaving parties, goodbyes, tears and hangovers.
July and August was given over to reacclimatising, buying some warmer clothes and getting back into the Derry vibe. “Summer” (a loosely used term in Ireland) vanished connecting with friends and family over a few essential trips to Manchester, London and France. Eventually our shipment arrived and before you knew it the kids the back to school and the husband was away working again.
What feels like a year later, I at last have some time to myself with the company of our first family pet Basil.
I’m kicking off my the blog again with some Lamb Shanks (free range and locally reared at Pheasant’s Hill Farm, Downpatrick, N. Ireland), braised of course in Guinness! Why use stock when you can use stout?
This is definitely a slow cook meal as the shanks need about three hours to tenderise, absorb the flavours and almost fall off the bone. However the good thing is that once it’s in the pot you can just leave it to its’ own devices and go and do something else. Always a winning approach in my book so you can pretend to be Nigella and come back hours later and serve it with a dismissive “oh this is something I quickly rustled up earlier”.
I’d recommend using a can or bottle of old fashioned stout Guinness rather than the draught Guinness with the widget in them!
Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in Guinness
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Onions, chopped
30g Dried Cranberries
100g Orange Marmalade
50g Tomato Ketchup
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
440ml Guinness (preferably non-draught)
12 Shallots, peeled and left whole
Glug of Olive Oil
Maldon Sea Salt and freshly ground Pepper
4 Lamb Shanks
4 Rosemary Sprigs
500ml Lamb Stock
Serve with mashed potatoes or champ, and leeks braised in butter and garlic.
“Champ” is an Irish recipe of well mashed potatoes with lots of butter and some sliced scallions mixed through. Note - the more butter you use the better it will taste!
Warm the oil in a large Le Creuset pot over a medium heat and add the onion. Stir until lightly browning and starting to caramelize. Do not burn!
Add the cranberries, marmalade, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and mix together. Then add the Guinness, lamb stock and shallots and stir everything together. Cover and simmer over a low heat.
In a separate frying pan warm a glug of olive oil with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the lamb shanks and toss in the seasoned oil. Brown the shanks all over and then using tongs add them to the onion and sauce mixture in the Le Cruset pot.
Keep the frying pan on the heat and add the rosemary sprigs. Brown them, without burning, creating an amazing rosemary aroma. Add these sprigs plus any remaining seasoned oil from the pan into the simmering sauce.
Cover and leave to cook for 3 hours over a very low heat. If possible, rotate the shanks in the sauce once during cooking.
After the 3 hours very, very carefully remove the shanks and shallots from the sauce and keep in a warm place. (For appearance sakes you don’t want the meat to fall away from the bones leaving you with naked bones to serve!) Then bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to thicken. Keep tasting the sauce and stop reducing when it reaches a flavor you are happy with. Season more if necessary.
Meanwhile make your mashed potatoes/champ and slowly braise your leeks in butter and garlic.
Serve the shanks individually on a bed of leeks with three braised shallots.
Offer the mashed potatoes and the sauce on the side.