In a class of its own, lamb has a distinct flavour and aroma that promises a memorable eating experience. It’s a dish fit for a warm summer’s day on the deck or a cold blustery day in the depths of winter.
Lamb oozes a subtle sweetness that delights the palate and caresses the throat as it moves southward. The aroma that explodes upward when the lid of the slow cooker is removed simply takes your breath away.
Why lamb? Having emigrated from across the pond where lamb is revered and very much a staple on the family’s grocery list, I simply took it for granted that a proper introduction would be appropriate here.
4 lamb shanks
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 litres of beef stock
¼ cup of butter
A bouquet garni of fresh parsley, thyme and bay leaves
1 cup of red wine
¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley
A pinch of coarse sea salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of sesame seed
1 large tomato
½ medium onion (thinly sliced)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of olive oil (extra virgin)
A real bonus of this dish is that it is easy to prepare. Clean the shanks with cold water and place them in a slow cooker, adding them to the beef stock, garlic, shallots, red wine, butter, salt and pepper. Be sure the shanks are completely covered by the liquid. Turn the slow cooker on to high and leave it for half an hour. Then, when the liquid bubbles, turn down the heat to low. Allow to cook for four hours.
After four hours, check to see if your meat is cooked. (Lamb is typically eaten pink and tender.)
The sauce for this dish is just as easy. Pour the olive oil into a small pan and set the stove at medium heat. Add the sliced onions and simmer until they are clear. Add the tomato, sesame seed, salt and pepper. Using a ladle, pour two scoops of the liquid stock from the lamb into the pot and continue simmering to reduce. (You are looking for a thicker consistency.)
To serve, place each shank of the lamb, centred, on a serving of mashed potatoes. Drizzle a portion of the reduced liquid on top and dress with a sprig of fresh rosemary.
Ian Leatt, a trained chef from Jersey in the Channel Islands, is general manager at Pegasus Publications.