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Cooking for Friends – Braised Lamb Shank & Cooked Marinade

Winter is well and truly upon us – cold weather, shorter days and the first dusting of snow atop the surrounding hills.

Believe it or not, winter is one of our favourite seasons and some of our most beloved recipes are inspired by this time of year – meaty stews, hot pies, not to mention the proverbial Christmas lunch, complete with a plump roast turkey or top-side of beef.

In the run up to the festive season, nothing beats getting together with old friends and reacquainting over a hearty meal.  And what better than Welsh lamb shank – tender and full of flavour, lamb shank is a bona-fide crowd pleaser, guaranteed to get you and your friends in the festive spirit.

With that in mind, we’ve whipped up the following braised lamb shank recipe with accompanying cooked marinade, perfect for a pre-Christmas get together with friends.

A 2-part recipe, we start with the cooked marinade before moving on to our method for the perfect braised lamb shank.

 

Part 1 – Cooked Marinade

The following recipe creates 1.5 litres of marinade, sufficient for a large piece of meat.

In terms of storage, large pieces of meat or game can be left in the cold marinade for one to three days; smaller pieces should be marinated for only one or two hours.

If you plan to serve the meat the same day, feel free to coat it in the marinade whilst it is still warm.

Remember: always use tongs or a fork to turn the meat in the marinade – never use your fingers, as this will ruin the flavour.  Also, the addition of a small amount of marinade to a game sauce will reinforce its structure and flavour.

Preparation time: approximately 10 mins 

Cooking time: approximately 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 20g of butter;
  • 2 Carrots, cut into rounds;
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped;
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced;
  • 1 litre of red wine (preferably Côtes du Rhône);
  • 100ml of red wine vinegar;
  • 750ml of water;
  • 1 bouquet garni, including a sprig of rosemary;
  • ½ head of garlic, halved crosswise;
  • 2 cloves;
  • A few crushed black peppercorns.

Method:

  • In a saucepan melt the butter and sweat the vegetables for a few minutes;
  • Next, add all the other ingredients and bring to the boil over a high heat;
  • Immediately lower the heat and cook gently for 20 minutes, skimming the surface whenever necessary;
  • Unless you are going to serve the meat the same day, cool the marinade completely before using it.

 

Part 2 – Braised Shank of Lamb

The following Recipe is for 5 shanks of lamb, perfect for a get together with friends.

Preparation time: 25 mins

Cooking time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 lamb shanks;
  • 1 litre of lamb stock;
  • 2 litres of chicken or veal stock;
  • 1 litre of cooked marinade (passed through a fine chinois);
  • 10g of rosemary;
  • 10g of lemon thyme;
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise;
  • 2 bay leaves;
  • 5 black peppercorns;
  • Zest of 1 lemon;
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange;
  • Plain flour;
  • Paprika;
  • Pinch of salt and pepper.

Method:

  • Start by marinating the lamb shanks in the cooked marinade for 24hrs;
  • When ready, remove the shanks from the marinade, drain off all the liquor, then pass the marinade through a fine chinois;
  • In a bowl, add plain flour and season well. Also add some paprika;
  • Place each lamb shank in the flour – coat well and pat off any excess;
  • Heat some olive oil in a large pan and seal off the lamb shanks until the meat is nicely caramelised on all sides;
  • In a large, deep, oven proof dish, cover the bottom with greaseproof paper and place the lamb shanks on top;
  • Add the rosemary, lemon thyme, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, lemon zest, as-well as the orange zest and juice;
  • In another pan add the veal stock or chicken stock and the chinois-sieved marinade;
  • Bring to the boil, then remove and place in the oven proof dish with the marinade. It should be enough to cover the lamb shanks. It does not matter if the bones are sticking out;
  • Place another sheet of greaseproof paper on top, cover the dish with cling film as-well as a layer of foil to stop the cling film from melting;
  • Place in an oven heated to 120 degrees for three hours. To check if the lamb shanks are cooked place a fork into one of them: if the meat easily falls off the bone, the lamb shank is cooked: if not, place the shanks back in the oven, checking every 5 minutes;
  • Once ready, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 1 hour;
  • After an hour remove the shanks and pass the liquor through a fine chinois;
  • Place the liquor back on the stove to reduce to the right consistency. It should coat the back of a spoon;
  • If the sauce is too bitter add some lemon juice; If it is too rich add chicken stock.

If preparing the day before…

  • To reheat the shank, you can place it in a pan with some sauce and bring it back up to temperature. Bear in mind, this will reduce the sauce somewhat, so be sure to add some water;
  • Alternatively, you can place the shank and some sauce, with a little bit of water, in a metal container;
  • Add greaseproof paper to cover and place foil around the container;
  • Place in the oven for about 25 minutes to bring back up to temperature and serve.