braised lamb shanks

So I´ve been away for a very long time :) Just before leaving for Greece I´ve posted about having lost my mojo. Well, haven´t found it yet, unfortunately. I have been cooking but nothing new or nothing that I found interesting enaugh to blog about.
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

salt, pepper

2-3 tbsp olive oil

onions, sliced

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

salt, pepper

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.


Lisa said…
Ha, that's funny about the shanks pic...true, but it does look tasty.
Welcome back!! How about some Greece pics & tales?
Sandy said…
Welcome Back! I've missed your posts.
vonsachsen said…
Lisa, nice to "see" you :)
I think you find a few pics about Greece on my other blog, but non about food, I think.
I just didn´t feel comfortable taking pics about the food. When I was "dining alone" (remember the article?;) ) I needed to bring up all my strenght not to answering aggressively to the veeeerý stupid question "are you eating alone?"!! Just imagine if I pulled my camera out and started to take pictures, that would have been the peek of pathetic :D
On the other hand when I ate in company, most often I was too hungry by the time everyone got their food, so I wans´t even thinking of taking pics.
I have been eaten lot of lamb, it´s one of my favourites, and a new seasoning (for me anyway) was the lambchops with oregano instead of rosemary. It was very tasty. As I didn´t eat too much potatoes, I had wonderful sides, as roasted aubergines and zucchinis in olive oil and garlic, oh, and something that I just have to try at home: red paprikas (capsicum) filled with feta and oregano and baked in the oven with a little olive oil!Yummy!!
Tried even grilled sepia (tasted like a whole tire) and some red whatever (forgot the name:D) fish, know, me and fish. But at least I did give it a chance :)

Shaun said…
Vonsachsen - Welcome back! I'm glad that your return dish is a Tamasin Day-Lewis one. I bet the balsamic vinegar made the dish incredibly sticky and sweet. The addition of bay leaves would have added a lovely savoury touch to complement the balsamic vinegar. Wonderful - I love lamb shanks.
vonsachsen said…
thank you Sandy :) I have missed you, "guys" :)

hehe, Shaun, I thought you would approve on my choice of Ms Day-Lewis´s recipe ;)
Actually, the sauce wasn´t too sweet at all, I guess it all depends on the choice of balsamic vinegar. Mine was quite strong, but it was the only one I had at home, so with the sweetness of the onions it became a kind of sweet and sour sauce. I´m really loving it! Also the amount of onions make for a great thick "stewy" sauce...mmm...nice with a piece of bread too...there, I´ve just admitted to this "ugly" habit :D
Bay leaves were a welcome addition to the taste, indeed.

vs xx
pistachio said…
Hi Eva, I've missed you!

Lovely to see you posting again.

pi xxx
Kelly-Jane said…
Welcome back! Your shanks look so good and tasty, mmm.

Other blog... is thre a link? will have to look!
Oh, I think it looks great! Welcome back! We're about to explore Swedish food as part of our culinary travels. Thankfully I'm still in touch with a childhood friend whose mother is Swedish. We've been laughing about some of the names of food, some of which I'm sure would elicit complaints! You probably know what I'm talking about.
violets said…
I can't disagree more, your lamb shanks looks wonderful I just want to dive right in.

I see you're cooking from Apples for Jam at the moment, I also have this book out on my countertop.

Vi xx
Ilana said…
I think your lamb shanks with champ looks absolutely fabulous. And I love the presentation!! :))

Glad to have you back, though I have to confess to not reading blogs whilst I was away... Looking forward to getting back in the routine of reading and posting.


p.s. Thanks for your lovely comments on Fotki. They made me and my sister smile. :)
Anna said…
i know exactly what you mean about losing your mojo. i recently moved away from my favourite grocer and can't summon the inspiration either.
i find the best way to get excited is to pick an ingredient that you've never used before, find a recipe and go for it.
good luck!
vonsachsen said…
Pi, I´ve been missing you too :)

Kelly-Jane, thanks. And yes, there is another blog, but that´s not about food :) If you klick on my profile you will see the other one called Vadhajtás (that means Wilding) where I blog in hungarian, english and swedish, a bit depending on my mood...A totally selfish blog, me,for me, about me, mememe

Amanda, you are such a great and pedagogic mother :D I would never have the energy (if I had any kids) to do all those things you do...

Violets, thank you:) The apples for jam is there, because it is one of the latest cookbooks I had bought, but unfortunately - though it´s beautiful - it doesn´t inspire me to cook. I use Falling Cloudberries a lot, but this one is just lying there looking pretty :) I find it a bit odd that she feed her daughters that much fatty food, lot of french fries and ice cream and cakes and cookies, Jee!

Ilana, by looking at your album it seems that yu´ve had a fabulous vacation! Lot of family, food, bath, city you had everything. Hope you are ready for a new year and The New Year. Happy new year, BTW ;)

Anna, thanks for the are perfectly right. I just have to make myself pick up an inspireing cook book, visit a few foodblogs and get back to track :)
Anonymous said…
VS, I have made this a few times now (I have the "West of Ireland Summers" book) and it's the best lamb shank recipe I've tasted..! I too thought it strange that it called for such a large amount of Balsamico, but it really does the trick, doesn't it :-P

Maria (from

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