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The ‘lamb’ we get at this time of year is actually hogget, ie one year old sheep – making it a bigger animal, of course, so roasting joints feed more mouths and all the meat is better value. Everybody loves shank of lamb and, although it’s one of the most popular dishes on menus, it’s easy and healthy to cook at home, as this recipe from Tim O’Sullivan of Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara explained in a recent IHF Happy Heart promotion.
Quantities are given for four, but lamb shanks vary in size and a large shank should serve two people. And it’s worth cooking extra shanks while you’re at it – any extras can be frozen together with their vegetables for a quick, hearty meal that you’ll be glad to come home to some cold evening.
Or, if you have leftover meat it can be used to make a tasty lunch the next day (click link).
4 lamb shanks (oven ready)
15-30ml /1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
250g /9oz each of carrots, parsnips and turnips, cut into chunks
8 shallots, peeled
4 sprigs of rosemary
2 garlic cloves, chopped
A little salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons parsley and chives, chopped
Flat leaf parsley for garnish.
Pre-heat a warm oven, 160°C/325ºF/Gas Mark 3.
Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. Remove the shanks and lightly brown the vegetables. Remove the vegetables.
Put the shanks and juices back into the casserole with the rosemary and garlic and half a glass of water. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cover and cook gently in the oven for 11⁄2 hours, then add the vegetables and continue to cook for a further 45 minutes-1 hour.
Remove from the oven, place the shanks and vegetables on a dish and keep warm.
Strain off the juices into a small saucepan and remove any visible fat, then boil for 5-6 minutes until it has a light sauce consistency. Remove from the heat and add the chopped parsley and chives.
Place a shank of lamb in the centre of four large warmed plates, surround with vegetables and coat with the sauce.
[Variation: Creamed potatoes go very well with this, or you could include some potato chunks with the other slow roast vegetables.]