Sunshine! In autumn! We’ve paid for it with a night of unstoppable rain, the park was a bit of a mudbath as a result, but instead of being lazy-arsed as usual we’ve been motivated to get up, to the park and other such things. The highlight has been a visit to Homebase where I wandered around thinking, ‘I had no idea my life would reach such brilliant heights’ as I searched fruitlessly for an oven thermometer.
Boyfriend is fixing something on 2 of his 5 bikes, dog is hopefully searching for bits of dropped chicken from lunch, and I’ve two banana breads no doubt burning a horrible death in ShitOven.
Time to blog.
This is a delicious thing adapted from something that overtly glamorous and unrealistically clean lady, Lorraine Pascale, did on her tellybox show a while ago. Have made it a couple of times, is bloody good, and here’s my version for two people.
Obviously double or triple amounts if you’re cooking for more than two.
Lamb shanks, preferably from a nice kind of butcher
Rosemary, couple sprigs
Carrots (I used 2)
Peppercorns, bout 6 or so
Parma ham or pancetta (Lovely Lorraine Pascale uses chorizo but I decided not to risk the 3-months out of date stuff we had in the fridge)
Paprika (Lovely Lorraine Pascale uses normal, but I used smoked) – a good teaspoon
Beef stock, bout 500ml
Balsamic vinegar, bout 125ml
Tear the ham into little stips and fry off in some seasoned olive oil. I kind of mush them down a bit with a wooden spoon as I want the flavour rather than the actual lumps of cured pig flesh.
In a nice big casserole dish (one with a lid, please), brown your lamb shanks, seasoning a bit with pepper if you fancy it. I always fancy pepper, bit like I think I might always slightly fancy Luke Goss from Bros. We all have our shameful secrets.
Whilst the shanks are browning, gather your fun stuff – a whole garlic sliced in half, couple sprigs of rosemary, bay leaves (I used 3 as mine were dessicated and ancient, but you may not need that much if yours are fresh), peppercorns and paprika.
When the shanks are browned enough in your eyes, add 2/3 of the stock, about 300ml of rioja, the balsamic, paprika, garlic, bay leaves etc etc.
Basically add everthing bar the onion and carrots. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop.
Above is my second-favourite souvenir from Italy – we bought a couple of takeaway sodas on the beach in San Benedetto del Tronto, and the lady at the bar gave us the bottles with these bottle tops on, for travelling. Obviously we’ve kept them and they are already coming in handy. Italy, you are amazing.
*looks fondly at tiny yellow plastic lid*
Anyway put the lid on the dish and chuck it into an oven on at about Gas Mark 3 (moderateish, not too hot) for 1.5hrs. If you’re cookingmore than two shanks I’d up this to about 2 hours at least.
After this time add the roughly chopped carrots and onions and add the rest of the stock. I also added a bit more water, you might also want to, but then again you probably don’t have a ShitOven so don’t need to take precautions in quite the same way.
Back in the oven for another 30-40 minutes.
Serve with mash potato, or whatever you like, really.
Best eaten when it’s pissing with rain outside, and a good few hours before bedtime, unless you enjoy hours of sleeplessness due to whale-like proportions.
I’ve got to go save the banana breads, I can hear them screaming. Really, you’re so lucky you can’t hear how I speak to ShitOven, it’s very rude indeed.