Everyone has a dish that they feel slightly guilty about. Guilty because somehow it turns out exceptionally good every single time. This is mine and it has magical powers :).
It is originally from the hit Channel 4 series and books, ‘River Cottage’ and I merely adapted it to work in a slow cooker. I like dishes that are a bit different and I prefer this lighter white wine and citrus version over traditional red wine based lamb shank recipes.
River Cottage’s Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstool can’t have known its romantic power when he added this dish to his cookbook though, surely not. It was the first meal I cooked for my wife to be and she fell madly in love with me. That’s the magical bit and might contradict her version of events :).
You will be:
- Sweating the vegetables in the slow cooker.
- Browning the lamb shanks and deglazing the frypan.
- Cooking it slow.
You will need:
- 4 lamb shanks
- 2 carrots
- 1 large brown onion
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme or lemon thyme
- a small handful of parsley or celery leaves, chopped
- 1 large orange
- 1 large lemon
- half a bottle of white wine (I used a Sauvignon blanc)
- 1 cup of home made stock (I used chicken stock as that was all I had) or 1 cup water
- several slugs of olive oil
- a good slug of tomato paste
- ground rock salt to taste
- cracked black peppercorns to taste
- 0.5 Tbsp whole black peppercorns (optional)
- a chopping board
- a long sharp knife
- kitchen tongs
- a wooden spoon
- a citrus zester
- a citrus juicer
- a large frypan
- a slow cooker
Sweating the vegetables in the slow cooker
- Put a slug of olive oil into your slow cooker and turn it on high, lid on.
- Rough chop the:
- 2 carrots.
- 2 celery sticks.
- handful of parsley or celery leaves.
- Finely slice the 1 large brown onion.
- Finely chop the 2 garlic cloves.
- Add the above to your slow cooker to start them softening up, lid on (mix everything around occasionally).
- Once the onions have started to soften, throw in the 2 bay leaves and the sprigs of thyme.
- If you like a bit of peppery kick, chuck 0.5 Tbsp of black peppercorns in too.
- Juice and then zest the lemon and the orange and add to the slow cooker (retain some of the mixed juice and zest for serving time).
- Add the 1 cup of stock or 1 cup of water and mix gently.
- Add a good slug of tomato paste.
I love seeing ingredients together like this:
Nice and soft:
Browning the lamb shanks and deglazing the frypan
- Season the 4 lamb shanks with salt and pepper.
- Chuck another slug of olive oil into the pan and bring to medium heat.
- Slightly brown every surface of the shanks. Yep, even the ends with a bit of creative meat stacking :).
- Then add them to the slow cooker.
- I now deglaze the frypan with half a bottle of white wine. When boiling I then add it to the slow cooker.
- If the slow cooker looks a bit full don’t panic. Everything will shrink down as it cooks :).
Cooking it slow
- Turn your slow cooker to medium and cook for at least 2 hours using kitchen tongs to periodically move the shanks around.
- Now you can keep the slow cooker on medium for speed or turn it down to low for a slower cook (my preference).
- When the meat is literally falling of the bone, when you are giving it a gentle mix with the kitchen tongs, it is ready.
I generally serve the shanks on a bed of mashed potato with some steamed green vegetables alongside. This time though I cooked my PK’s NoRecipe Oven Baked Potatoes and served the shanks on the bone with some greens.
Remember how we set aside some mixed zest and juice? Sprinkle a bit of the zest and then drizzle some juice over each serve to freshen the citrus flavours and aromas.
On or off the bone this dish is visually appealing:
Make this dish for someone you love,