Tag Archives: French lamb casserole in red wine

Lamb shanks braised in red wine and uncharitable planetary alignments

lambshanks

In true French style, I blame my mortifying behaviour yesterday on a very unfavourable planetary alignment. Within the space of just a few hours, I repeatedly proved to be a source of acute embarrassment to my long-suffering son, Léo. We went to a computer shop where I  ‘asked inappropriate questions’ that made it look as if ‘I didn’t know what I was talking about’. Nothing new there then. In a rush to drop him off at tennis training (the condescension was wearing thin), I apparently did a ‘very illegal U-turn in front of a policeman without my seatbelt on’. The policeman was very indulgent and graciously laughed it off. The son didn’t; I got chapter and verse until the tennis club, where I was happy to launch into conversation with the team coach, only to establish that ‘I don’t possess the competence necessary to read the dates correctly on a tournament schedule’ (in my defense, it was extremely ambiguous). Wanting to save the best for last, I got up to leave, congratulating myself on having found a shortcut out of the new indoor courts. Only it turned out that my shortcut was more of a short circuit, because it set off the (immoderately noisy) alarm system in front of 40 odd people (obviously meaning about 40 people, not 40 strange people because that would be the pot calling the kettle black). The alarm that is directly linked to the police station. I wonder if the policeman was as understanding as he had been about the U-turn. I’m afraid I didn’t hang around to find out…

This is a simple but delightfully warming recipe for autumn/winter. It is adapted from  the ‘French Brasserie Cookbook’ by Daniel Galmiche, which is full of fairly straightforward, typically French homestyle recipes.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

4 lamb shanks

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 fennel bulb, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

4 tablespoons tomato purée

750ml full-bodied red wine

500ml vegetable stock

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish and once the oil is hot, add the lamb shanks to seal them, turning frequently. Add the onion, shallots, garlic, fennel and carrots and cook for a further five to ten minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomato purée and the wine and cook until the liquid has reduced by about half. Add the stock , seasoning and thyme and bring to a boil. Cook in the oven for at least two hours, removing to stir from time to time so that the meat doesn’t dry out. Once cooked, the lamb should be deliciously tender and falling off the bone and the sauce should have reduced. Delicious served with creamed potatoes to soak up the sauce.

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