We Love Cooking! + [thyme]

:: Lamb Shanks with Colcannon Mash

Well we're two rooms down on the house and surprisingly after 3 days in a row in IKEA, I'm still ready for more! We have just got in the door from sorting out the bedroom, with a bed and wardrobe set for delivery tomorrow. I have to admit that with all the rushing around, we have ended up in the cafe twice and I have to confess that I have munched my way through 30 meatballs in the last two days, with copious amounts of mashed potato, gravy and lingonberry jam! But then again when you are lugging your life around there is most definitely a need for some serious comfort food. Speaking of which today's recipe is one of my ultimate comfort foods- Slow cooked lamb shanks for many need absolutely no introduction as you will know just how delicious, slow-cooking this off-cut of meat is. If you haven't tried them before, give this recipe a go it's perfect for the cooler evenings.

Lamb Shanks with Colcannon Mash
I really am a sucker for a good lamb shank, with it's melt-in-the-mouth texture, which literally falls off the bone, it truly is a thing of beauty! The key is to slow cook it at a low temperature. This transforms the gnarly piece of meat into a rich and juicy piece of deliciousness. You can serve it on normal mash, sweet potato mash, or with lentils, but I love colcannon and seeing as it is the season, it makes perfect sense!

Serves 4
30ml/2 tbsp of olive oil
4 lamb shanks
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk of celery, finely sliced
350ml/12 fl oz of red wine
A few sprigs of thyme, tied in a bunch with string
650ml/1 ½ pts of stock (vegetable or beef)
2 tablespoons of cornflour
A good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

In a large casserole dish, heat the olive oil and add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Fry the onions for two to three minutes until soft but not browned. Add the garlic, carrot and celery and fry for another couple of minutes. Pop in the thyme and stir through.
Add the red wine and bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes.
Place in the browned lamb shanks and pour over the stock. Bring to a steady simmer, then cover and place in the oven at 150oC/300oF/Gas Mark 2.
Cook the lamb shanks very slowly, for three hours, turning them half way through the cooking time, until the meat is extremely tender and almost falls off the bone. Toward the end of the cooking time, taste and season.
If you want to serve the lamb shanks with its juices, I remove a few ladles of the juices and place them in a small saucepan. Then place two tablespoons of the juices in a bowl and stir through the cornflour until you have a smooth mix, pour this back into the saucepan and bring to a steady simmer, cooking down until you have a thick gravy.
Serve in large deep bowls with the colcannon.

For the colcannon:
1kg potatoes, peeled and diced
250g cabbage, finely sliced
1 bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons of butter
75ml of milk or cream
A good pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Add the peeled and diced potato to a pot of cold water, cover, place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is tender when pierced with a fork.
Place a metal steamer into another pot, add a little water and bring to the boil. Place the cabbage into the steamer and steam cook until it is tender.
When the potatoes are cooked, remove from the heat, drain into a colander, then add back into the pot with the butter and milk. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy. You may want to add a little bit more or less milk and butter, it's up to you!
Add in the spring onion, steamed cabbage, sea salt and black pepper and stir through with a spoon until evenly combined.
Serve with the lamb shanks.