Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks with Root Vegetables

The weather in the UK is very much autumnal. Rain, wind and then suddenly a day of beautiful chilly sunshine takes you by surprise and makes you smile. We´re here to enjoy the experience, and that most certainly includes eating and drinking the best of what the region has to offer.

Before we had spent considerable time in England Big Man was a bit perplexed as to why a leg of English (or Welsh) lamb could feed a family, when in Spain a leg of lamb would feed two people. Now he understands that our English lambs don´t have to scramble up rugged mountains in search of food in a dry dusty landscape. Big doesn´t mean tough when you have grazed on flat salt marshes. And yes, English Lamb is delicious he agrees.

What does come in perfect one sized portions though, is the lamb shank. That lower portion of the leg with plenty of sweet tasting meat which responds particularly well to slow cooking. Perfect for chilly autumn nights after a long day of work.

Ingredients for two people

  • Two lamb shanks
  • Four carrots, peeled and cut into quarters
  • Two parsnips, peeled and cut lengthways into thick slices
  • About a dozen small onions or a large onion cut into large chunks
  • Four large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • A large glass of red wine
  • About 500ml of chicken or lamb stock
  • A heaped tablespoon of tomato purée
  • Flour
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning

Coat the lamb in flour and fry in a little olive oil until lightly browned. Put into a casserole dish with all the other ingredients and cook in the oven on low for about 4-6 hours while you put up a bathroom wall, realise you´ve put it in the wrong place, take it down and put it back up again. Ok, the DIY bit is optional. Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes, or (as I did) with slices of grilled polenta and a glass of that lovely wine you opened to put into the dish. Any leftover juices and vegetables can be turned into soup the next day by adding a little more stock or water and a handful of angel hair pasta.