Monday, 5 March 2007

Humble Chef's On The Lamb

Yikes. Has it been a week since my last recipe? I'll keep them coming as much as I can. I realize some of these recipes are not for everyone so I'll keep the volume up to expand the variety. Most of what I've given have been fairly simple one-pot syle meals. Here's one that involves a little preperation but great pay off. It is one I'm planning for an upcoming dinner party so this is a good way to refresh myself. Also, if the guests enjoy the dinner, there is access to the recipe for them to make and enjoy.

Braising is simple yet time consuming technique. Braising refers to "cooking in liquid" for an extended amount of time. The idea behind braising is to take a tough, usually inexpensive cut of beef or poultry and slowly cook it to make the meat tender. Cooking is often a trade off; you can purchase expensive cuts of meat(steaks, chicken breasts, rack of lamb, salmon) that cook quickly, easily and make them taste pretty good. On the flip side, braising requires patience and planning but are usually pretty easy on the wallet.

This is not a new recipe. This is a classic, home style french cuisine. Yet can be flipped to something unique to you by adding little things you have at home. You can buy frozen lamb shanks at most major grocers, but fresh can be purchased at local butchers.

Braised Lamb Shanks

6 Lamb Shanks, dredge in flour
1 Carrot, roughly cut in cubes
1 Large White Onion, large dice
4 Stalk of Celery, large dice
2 Bay leaves
2 l stock (beef, chicken, veg, lamb, whatever)
500 ml Red Wine
10 g Seasoned Flour for Dredging
2 Sprigs of Rosemary, Thyme
50 ml maple syrup
15 ml vegetable oil
Salt and Peppet to Taste

Preheat oven at 375 Celsius.

In a large soup pot, on medium-high heat, preheat vegetable oil. Sear all sides of lamb and remove from pot. Reduce heat and throw in mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves) and cook until bottom of pan is golden brown. Add a little oil if needed. Deglaze the pan with red wine. Reduce by half. Add stock and lamb shanks. Stir pot until it comes to boil. Remove from heat. Add fresh herbs. Cover with a lid and place in the oven.

Cook for approximately 2 hours occasionally removing from oven and stirring.

To check for doneness, half the lamb should be a clean bone. Tear a piece of the lamb and it should tender and juicy. When braised through remove shanks and cover to keep hot. Strain the stock and discard leftover vegetables and herb sprigs. On the stove top, bring to a boil. The stock should coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt, pepper and maple syrup.

Serve shanks with jus, mashed potatoes and freshly steamed green vegetables.

Serves 5.

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