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A Snail's Pace: slowcooked lamb shanks with thyme and rosemary

I feel that many people have real affection for lamb shanks in Scotland. After all, we are spoilt for choice with great breeds such as Shetland lamb and of course the black-faced lamb.

I've cooked lamb shanks for years and I love this particular recipe because it's so easy to make and comforting to eat. The beauty of cooking with a lamb shank is all down to its simplicity. If you want slow-cooked succulent meat then a top tip would be to make sure you keep it on a low heat for a few hours.

This is the time of year that you'll see lots of beautiful vegetables in season so make the most of it and get a great selection together to go with your lamb shanks. If you're preparing your side vegetables beforehand I would recommend cooking them in salted boiling water and then as soon as they are cooked through put them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. This will ensure the vegetables maintain their beautiful bright colour and it will also stop them overcooking. My favourite side additions to this recipe are carrots, peas, broad beans, celery, asparagus, broccoli and spinach.     

Lastly, if possible, buy your lamb from your local butcher or even better from a farm directly. Lots of farms now sell directly to the public so you know exactly where your meat has come from.

Bon Appétit.

Fred

Slowcooked lamb shanks with vegetables, thyme and rosemary.

Ingredients

4 Scottish lamb shanks

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

1 bouquet garni 

2 sprigs of thyme

2 sprigs of rosemary    

1ltr beef stock or chicken stock

100g plain flour 

Salt and pepper to season

100g duck fat  

Freshly chopped parsley

Your choice of vegetables to serve on the side

Method (on the day)

1. Dredge the lamb shanks in seasoned flour and fry in a large frying pan with the duck fat for 4-5 minutes making sure you're turning them regularly until browned all over.

2. Add the diced carrots, onions, and crushed garlic and sweat them gently for a few minutes.

3. Get rid of any excess fat from the pan then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil and add the bouquet garni, a bunch of rosemary and thyme and simmer on a low heat for roughly two hours or until cooked and tender.

4. Take the shanks out of the pan and put to the side. Bring your stock to the boil and then pass it through a sieve pressing hard to extract all of the juices from the vegetables. Discard the pressed vegetables.

5. Cook your shanks in the sauce for another 45 minutes.

6. After 45 minutes take the shanks out to rest whilst you reduce your sauce.

7. Add seasoning and some more thyme. Once the sauce has reduced put the shanks back in and heat through gently.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and with your chosen seasonal vegetables.

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