Delicious lamb shanks 2 different ways
This dish reminds of the culinary moments in Spain, they make such good lamb there! My parents always tell me the story of when I was a little girl and how I always wanted slow roasted lamb shank when dining out at restaurants. I love the shank, ribs or front shoulder! Yum! I love the taste of lamb, preferably baby lamb that has a more mild taste. A slow roasted stew makes the meat fall of the bone leaving a succulent and juicy taste behind! The stew is very easy to make, you can’t go wrong and the best thing is that you can make it a day before (it actually gets better in taste) if you are having a dinner party and don’t want to leave everything to the last day!
Btw, speaking of baby lamb, we actually had a pet lamb in Spain called Idefix that had a cute black marking around its eye. Too sweet! I will always remember the evening she was handed to us in a TV box with a red ribbon around her neck. I was a little girl then and won her at a New Years party at this restaurant we have been going to for years. It was actually an arranged win (as the restaurant owner winked at my dad when I pulled out the raffle from a jar) as we were regular customers and become acquainted with the staff, but boy my parents were not happy about this win! The staff obviously though we were going to eat the lamb at some point, but what were they thinking bringing the sweetest little lamb to an animal lover, of course I was not going to make roast out of it! So it came back home with us in the backseat of a taxi and become our fluffy pet. My brother and I took it for walks and you could imagine what our neighbours thought! Eventually when we came back to Finland, we gave Idefix to a farmer that had other sheep and every time we came back to Spain, he brought Idefix for us to see. Hmm… almost seems cruel and highly inappropriate to give a lamb shank recipe now after this sweet story, but here goes-
Directions for the Lamb Shanks (serves 4)
I’ll begin by saying I did not measure anything for this recipe, so go as you please! Begin by marinating your lamb shanks with oil, garlic and rosemary and leave it overnight or for a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius degrees. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and butter a bit of butter. Add 4 shanks to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned all over for about 5 minutes; transfer to the side.
Now add in some carrots, onions, chili, garlic, cherry tomatoes or what ever vegetable you have. All root vegetables work well, especially celery to turnips. Let the vegetable soak up all the lovely lamb flavours. Then add in about 2 cups of tomato paste/sauce, red wine a bit of vegetable stock. Add in the shanks so they are covered. Add lots of rosemary, bay leaves, herbs of choice, black pepper and some sea salt. Let it come to boil and turn the lamb over a couple of times. Place the lid on the casserole and place into the oven for 5 hours. First, I had the temperature at 200 C and dropped it after the first 15 minutes to 150 C. Let the cook gently and in 5 hours you will notice how the meat falls of easily. You can serve the lambs just like this and they will taste fabulous! Garnish with some parsley, as seen in the first photo below.
Another possibility is to make a sauce from the stew with a couple of easy steps. Blend the sauce into a smooth paste and strain it. You will only need 1/4 of the sauce so you can through some of it away. Place into a saucepan and let it come to boil and reduce in consistency into a thicker paste. Add in a dollop of cream and voilá! Meanwhile you are making the sauce, place the lamb shanks in a baking tray and into the oven so they roast for about 15 minutes in about 210 Celsius. This way they get a lovely crisper dry surface, a great combination with the sauce. The pictures below are from our Easter date night when it was my turn to cook. I also made a parsnip puree and placed a shank on top of it. All you need to do is boil 2 large parsnips. Meanwhile in a bit of butter, cook some shallots and garlic. Then add the parsnips, blend into a smoothie paste. Add a bit of butter and a handful of parmesan cheese.