The weekends are made for weather like this. Standing at my kitchen window watching the world outside, pillowed in white. A fantastic snow day. So what could be more rib-sticking and soul-comforting than something slow cooked? I love being able to literally toss everything into a pot, stick it in the oven, put on my scarf and gloves and pop down to my local pub for a social Sunday drink by the log fire knowing that something so tasty is bubbling gently away in the oven at home. So let us get on with this hearty supper….
4-5 small shallots (halved)
4 garlic cloves
2 fennel bulbs (sliced)
red wine (1 glass)
1 pt chicken stock
Sprigs of Rosemary and Thyme
A couple of Bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1 spring onion
Two tablespoons of olive oil
Two lamb shanks (1 per person – if you’re cooking for more people, add 1/2 a tsp more mustard and half a fennel bulb or an extra couple of shallots per person as well as an extra glug of wine and stock.)
Start by browning off the lamb shanks in the casserole pot in one tablespoon of olive oil – just enough to seal the meat. Once browned, remove onto a plate and toss in the garlic cloves, shallots and fennel. Fry off in the oil (adding the extra table spoon if necessary), before adding the red wine. Allow the wine to deglaze any sticky residue the frying has left in the pot. Season generously with salt and pepper and add in the rosemary, bay leaves and thyme.
Reintroduce the shanks of lamb into the casserole dish, gently placing them on the bed of fennel and onions. Dissolve the dijon mustard into a pint of stock before pouring this over the meat. Place in the oven with the lid on for two hours on a low heat (160°), turning the meat once half way through.
The end result is fall off the bone meat with plenty of sweet and peppery gravy to pour over a side of mashed or roasted potatoes. If the gravy is not thick enough, whisk in a shallow spoonful of cornflour. Garnish with sliced spring onions and serve with mint sauce or jelly.