The weather is shivery and miserable. Everything feels damp, and chilled to the core, even inside. Without being overly dramatic about it, the day is too revolting outside to even contemplate leaving the house, and a long weekend looms ahead. So be smart about it - race out and grab your provisions today and hunker down for the weekend. I promise if you make these shanks, you will feel a whole lot better about the weather. In fact, it might start to feel a bonus that the rain is driving in horizontally, and the wind is screaming around the neighbourhood. Warming, comforting and easy, this meal will warm you to the core. It is really easy to pull together too. All you need is time for a nice slow braise in the oven. They even taste fantastic reheated, so put them together in the afternoon. You'll have loads of time for a kip on the couch before serving them up for dinner, or even lunch tomorrow.
The recipe comes from a nifty recipe book called "Madison Entertains" by Bridget Palmer, and is the first thing I have made from it. If everything else lives up to this recipe, it will be a winner. The thing that drew me to buying the book in the first place is that unlike many entertaining type books, this is food that doesn't demand an indecent amount of time or attention. After all, you want to give that to your friends or family, or even that afternoon kip. I made this for 12 recently, with 16 shanks - I tripled the sauce ingredients to cope with the extra shanks. And the sauce has so many vegetables that apart from a green salad, there is no need for any other sides. It was perfect for everyone from the kids to the more aged around the table. You'll be glad to know the leftovers were sensational too. Incidentally, the recipe below is for 4.
Slow Simmered Lamb Shanks With Parmesan Mash
from "Madison Entertains" by Bridget Palmer
Preparation 25 minutes Cooking 3 hours
4 lamb shanks
1 cup plain flour
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red capsicum, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
1 cup (250ml) red wine
1 cup (250ml) beef stock
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Coat the shanks in the flour, dusting off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat; add the shanks and cook until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Place the remaining olive oil into a large baking dish or flameproof casserole dish. Add the onion, celery, carrot, capsicum and garlic and toss to coat. Top with the browned shanks then pour over the tomato, wine, stock and herbs and season. Cover with aluminium foil or a lid and transfer to the oven for 2–3 hours (the longer the better), turning the shanks halfway through cooking.
To serve, spoon some parmesan mash on to 4 plates and place a shank on top. Spoon over the vegetables and sauce and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
1 kg mashing potatoes (such as desiree), peeled
²⁄³ cup (185ml) milk
50g butter, chopped
½ cup (45g) parmesan, finely grated
Roughly chop the potatoes and cook them in a saucepan of boiling water until tender. Drain. Return the potato to the saucepan and place over low heat. Add the milk and mash until smooth. Add the butter a few pieces at a time, whipping with a wooden spoon until well combined. Stir in parmesan, season and serve.