Friday, 4 May 2012

Rioja braised Lamb Shanks with Chorizo

It's May and as usual the good old English weather is doing it's finest. Spring lasted about 2 days, Summer has been ignored altogether and it feels like Autumn is upon us. So to compliment the climate, I decided upon a hearty lamb dish, packed full of robust flavours that I'd normally serve on a bleak November night. One of my favourite cuts of meat is the lamb shank. It's very flexible, can take on a lot of different flavours and more or less cooks itself. This recipe is courtesy of domestic goddess Lorraine Pascale What you get is a succulent dish which will impress your dinner guests, that is in fact is very simple to make. I served this with creamy mashed potatoes and some green beans. The key though is reducing the sauce at the end until its glossy and intense with flavour. For 4 people, the cost equates to around £6 a head. I cook the whole dish in my Le Creuset casserole dish, but you can just use a frying pan for the browning and a normal casserole dish for the braising.

Ingredients : 4 lamb shanks, 100ml balsamic vinegar, 300ml beef stock, 300ml rioja, bulb of garlic cut in half horizontally, 2 bay leaves, 2 tsp paprika, 10 black peppercorns, 4 sprigs of rosemary, 125g chorizo cut into 1cm slices, large red onion cut into wedges, 2 chopped carrots, 1tbsp honey, seasoning, 2 tbsp olive oil

1. Heat oven to 150c / GM3. Add the oil to a pan and heat. Brown the meat all over and set aside.
2. Pour the wine and balsamic vinegar into same pan and boil for five mins. Add the lamb, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, half the rosemary, paprika and stock. Bring back to the boil, cover with a lid and place in over for 2 hours.
3. Add the chorizo, onion, carrots and honey. Mix well and cook for another hour.
4. You will know when the meat is cooked as it will be falling off of the bone. Carefully remove to a serving plate with a slotted spoon. Discard the bay leaves and any stalky pieces of rosemary.
5. Return the pan to the hob and reduce for 5-10 mins until you have a shiny sauce. Check the seasoning and then pour over the meat.

The lamb is melt in the mouth tender, whilst the chorizo retains a nice bite. The sweetness of the onions and the garlic marry up well, but the sauce is just nectar and you would be forgiven for mopping it all up with a nice chunk of bread.

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