Since I´ve came back three weeks ago, we have had rain almost every day. It´s not just that it´s raining but it´s also quite raw and temperature is down on 14 C, so this weekend when my mum was visiting, I thought I´ll cook something warming for the two of us.
I have been meaning to try Tamasin´s Braised Lamb Shanks for a year or so (shame on me :) ) but finally, time has come. Originally I´ve found the recipe in her West of Ireland Summer´s book that I borrowed from the library and I copied a few recipes, but when I looked at it, it said 150 ml balsamic vinegar to cook the 4 lambshanks in! First I thought I wrote the recipe wrong, so I checked whether I found it in my own Tamasin´s Kitchen Bible and I did :)
Same there, 150 ml balsamic vinegar. I must say I was a bit intrigued but I decided to go with it. Also I made the Champ as a side, because I wanted to make it completely Irish.
In Tamasin´s Kitchen Bible she recommends orange rind instead of the lemon, and also bay leaves. After about half the cooking time I decided to add some bay leaves myself, the end result was delicious! It wasn´t too strong from the vinegar either, in the end (after 2,5 hours cooking time) it only smelled wonderfully of wine and herbs. I liked this dish a lot and I intend to make it many more times towards the autumn and winter.
Someone on another blog mentioned that it is impossible to get lambshanks and stew look great on pic, and I couldn´t agree more, but here you go a pic anyway.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Champ serves 4
4 lamb shanks, 8-10 cm long
2 tbsp plain flour
2-3 tbsp olive oil
6-7 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 sprigs of rosmary and thyme, finely chopped
300 ml white wine
150 ml balsamic vinegar
Optional: 2 strips lemon rind, bay leaves
Turns the shanks in the seasoned flour, and shake off any excess flour. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole. When hot, add the lamb shanks and brown all over. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and put aside.
Add the rosemary, onions, garlic and thyme, sauté until golden and softened. Raise the heat and add the wine and vinegar together. Bubble furiously for 2-3 minutes to reduce.
Return the shanks to the casserole and cover with greaseproof paper and a lid. You can add a couple of strips of lemon rind if you like. Lower the heat and simmer very gently for 2 hours or more. Turn the shanks from time to time, and add more wine if the liquid is evaporating. Longer cooking won´t hurt them, the meat should fall off the bone. Half an hour before you want to eat, start cooking the champ.
Champ serves 4
1 kg floury potatoes
300 ml creamy milk (I mixed milk and cream)
50-85 g butter
6 spring onions, finely chopped
Cook potatoes, drain water, cover the pan and let sit for a few minutes.
Put milk and 50 g butter in a saucepan and heat to boiling point. Add the spring onions, turn off the heat and let them infuse the milk.
Mash potatoes, then add the milk-butter-onion mixture, stirring until smooth. Season to taste. You can make a well in the centre and add an extra lump of butter to melt into the champ, if you like.