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To celebrate the arrival of Spring (Sunday 20th March) I was asked by Ozpig UK if I fancied cooking up a quintessential spring cook. In my mind nothing says this better than some good ‘ol slow braised lamb shanks.
I’m lucky enough to have both the ‘Series 2‘ and the ‘Big Pig‘ and whilst I absolutely love the ‘Big Pig’ I wanted to demonstrate that you don’t necessarily need the larger offering if you simply wanted to cook a meal for 2 over live fire.
. . . let’s do this!
The Lamb Shanks
To prepare for this cook I purchased 2 x plain lamb shanks from Village Butchers at a price of £14.99.
There isn’t much preparation needed but I would recommend 2 simple steps:
- Trim away any silverskin and thick deposits of fat
- Sever any tendons attached at the narrow / top end of the shank (this allows the meat to shrink away from this part of the shank; resulting in better / more attractive presentation).
Whilst you are preparing your BBQ take the shanks out of the fridge and allow them to come up to room temperature.
Pat the lamb shanks dry and then season generously with salt and pepper.
Once outside spend a couple of minutes searing the lamb on all sides and then set aside.
In a pre-heated Dutch oven (medium / hot) add 2/3 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the following together until soft and fragrant (this should take around 5 minutes).
- 1 Onion – Finely chopped
- 2 Carrots – Peeled and finely chopped
- 2 Celery Stalks – Finely chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves – Thinly sliced
The Slow Braise
To the Dutch oven add the following:
- 2 Sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 Bay leaf
- 2 Sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 Dried ancho chili pepper
- 3 Tbsp Tomato paste
- 1/2 Can chopped tomatoes
- 300ml Red wine
- 300ml Vegetable stock
- 200ml Beef stock
Stir and allow to come to a simmer before adding the lamb shanks you seared earlier.
Cover with lid and allow to braise slowly for 2 hours before rotating the shanks and then putting the lid back on.
After another 30 minutes check the tenderness and internal temperature . . . we’re aiming for around 180°f (about 82°c).
Note: Although I started this cook over charcoal we switched this to live fire after around 2 hours as my daughter wanted to sit in front of the Ozpig to keep warm.
The Final Step
Once you are happy with the tenderness / temp of the lamb shanks, remove, loosely wrap in foil and allow to rest whilst you prepare the piest de resistance . . . the sauce.
Keep the lid off and bubble the sauce down for about 15 minutes until rich and glossy at which point you need to pass through a sieve into a jug for serving.
We enjoyed ours with creamy garlic mashed potatoes and charred Mediterranean vegetables.