“Five hours. Wow. How come that takes soooo long?” “How do you have the patience for that sort of cooking?” Such are the questions asked of the slow-cooking cook. “You have great patience.” Now, it is probably true that I am more patient than the average schmuck. A couple of decades living in our house has contributed to that state of affairs. However, I am aware that family occasionally read this stuff, so I had better leave that aspect alone. Now back to the point of this tale….
I like people to think that I work really hard at the cooking. They must believe that I stay in the kitchen for the entire cooking process. This may be true if I’m trying to get a soufflé to rise or boiling an egg. But, with these simple lamb shanks, I have hours to dedicate to any other activity I feel is appropriate. Having TV on the iPad is a big help. I can watch a rugby match or two or catch up on a box set while the family are all feeling sorry for me as I prepare another epic creation.
This recipe for Simple Lamb Shanks is really easy and takes very little of the cooking time to prepare, leaving you free to enhance your reputation as a hardcore cook while doing other, less impressive things. The ingredients list is very short. I was cooking for three. Multiply up or down to suit your numbers.
Ingredients for Simple Lamb Shanks
- 3 lamb shanks
- 3 carrots
- 2 good sized onions
- 4 sticks of celery
- One third of a bottle of nice red wine
- About the same amount of good chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to season
First, brown the shanks on a frying pan. Brown them on every surface you can reach.
Next, chop the vegetables, nice and chunky. We don’t want to waste any of the available time with actual preparation, if we can avoid it.
Heat some oil in a casserole and add the vegetables. when they begin to soften, add the lamb shanks and season them. Season them well. Then add the wine.
Side note on keeping the family onside: Be sure to make a deal of noise and indulge in some cursing and ranting at regular intervals during your downtime. This will dampen any enthusiasm they have for coming into the kitchen. Using the ad breaks in a film or half time during the rugby works well for me.
Add the stock.
Pop on the lid and place the casserole in a 140ºC oven.
After four and a half hours of TV watching and occasional outbursts, you can take the shanks out and keep them warm in the oven. Strain the remaining liquid into a saucepan. Reduce it by two-thirds. Add a knob of butter and whisk to incorporate. This will make a delicious, tasty gravy.
Hide the iPad and serve the shanks on a bed of mash. It works really well with garlic mash, celeriac mash or just plain old potato mash.
One last thing to remember. It’s a good idea to ask if anybody knows the score from the match you secretly watched. That way, they’ll never be on to you. They may even feel a bit sorry for you. If they do, your rep as a cook will be enhanced in proportion. Score!