Slow food is a thing of beauty, it requires a lot of time and just a little attention and bang….you have literally heaven on a plate. I dunno why it is, but when I mention Shanks, Belly, Cheeks, people turn white at the prospect of attempting to cook with these magnificent cuts. The fact of the matter is that these cuts are far and away more easy to deal with than say sirloins or fillets.
Slow cuts (as I call ’em) are naturally packed to the rafters with inbuilt flavour because of all the work they have to do – slow cuts are busy, active, sturdy and full of character the direct opposite of the lazy fillet or the kinda busy Loin chop!
As an introduction to Low and Slow you can’t get any better than the Lamb Shank – this is a 3-4 step wonder – a find it and forget it but a total show stopper on a Sunday Lunch table
So I’m gonna lay cards on tables – forget about this dish right now if you are the type of person who does not dig heading to the Dublin Mountains or the beach around 10.00am on a Sunday morning for a couple of hours striding then off to your local for a couple of cheeky soda-pops and a read-up of the Sundays before wandering home to a table full of falloff -the-bone meat and buttered mash…..you can all stop reading this right now and get back under your stones 🙂
Ingredients – for 2 (or double for 4….. d’uh)
2 Lamb Shanks
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2-3 anchovie fillets
1 medium white onion
1 bottle of good red wine
200mls chicken stock
Make sure you get the good stuff from the butchers, at this time of the year you are getting slightly older lamb which is great – punchier and gamier. Simple season well all over with salt and cracked black pepper
This is ultra important – brown the shanks all over in a pan with some olive oil – the more browning at this stage the deeper colour the sauce will have. By the way the whole ‘sealing in flavour’ is rubbish…this is a colour thing and a sugars things – the flavour ain’t goin’ no where believe me!
Half then run your knife through the onion in thick slices – about 1/2 cms
Add the onions to the same pan and brown up a little, then in with then anchovies, garlic and tomato paste. Get them well acquainted over a medium heat mixing well with a wooden spoon.
At this stage crank up the heat to full and add 1/2 the wine, boil then simmer for a 3-4 minutes
Add the rest of the wine from the bottle to a deep pot along with the stock the shanks and the wine mix from the pan the liquid should come about all the way up but not cover the shanks. Lid on then into the oven at 120 for 4 hours. Serve with a buttered mash and a good root veg – carrots or broad beans.