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Thankyou to Allan Campion who included a link to this blog in his most recent Newsletter.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks with Creamed White Beans, Gremolata and Watercress Salad

So, what do you cook when you're staying in a modern Farmhouse on acres of farmland in the Yarra Valley? Lamb Shanks of course! Especially when the temperature drops to 7c outside and you have a roaring fire going in the next room - there is nothing better than some slow cooked meat to give you that warm comforting feeling inside.

Before we left for our few days away, I stopped off at a butcher shop in Victoria St, Richmond and picked up 4kg of Beef Bones ($4.50). The recipe calls for Veal Bones, but hey, beef was the best I could do in a hurry. To make your Veal stock, you need to boil and simmer your bones, carrot, celery, onion, etc, for 6 hours. I left this on ticking over on the stove, whilst I was taxi-ing the others around to some gorgeous wineries.
I sourced my Lamb Shanks from Kitchen and Butcher in Healesville. The butcher there raved about them, so I couldn't wait to taste them!

Once you have made your stock, you need to strain it and leave it to cool, removing any fat and scum that rises to the surface. You then need to brown your shanks in a fry pan and then place them in the oven, covered with stock and cook for 3 hours at a low heat. That's about 10 hours of cooking all up for this dish, if you include the stock making.

Instead of Mash, Ezard uses Creamed White Beans. He suggests to use Haricot Beans, but they were nowhere to be found in Healesville, so I just used Cannelini Beans. You basically need to soak them, then boil til soft and then push through a sieve to remove the skins, then mix with cream to make a mash type consistency.

You will need to make a Aioli as well. If you've never made your own mayonnaise before, it's quite easy. Aioli is basically just a flavoured mayonnaise.

If you watched Jamie Oliver's most recent show, where he's in his Country Garden, you would have heard him talking up Gremolata, which is basically herbs, mixed with garlic and lemon zest. Ezard uses this in this dish to coat the Lamb shanks once cooked.

Once you've cooked your Lamb Shanks for the required 3 hours, you'll need to take out some of the liquid and strain it again, then reduce it right down. Once it's reduced, you'll need to add a little cream and reduce again. Be careful, because the sauce is extremely rich at this point. I added a little salt to season and it turned out to be too much. I had to add more water to the sauce to get rid of the saltiness, but once the sauce is reduced, it's hard to get rid of the excess salt, so it's either deal with the saltiness or deal with a runny consistency. I chose the latter.

Finally you'll need to roast some Tomatoes, which are part of the 'Watercress Salad.' It's not really a salad as such, just a Tomato with some Cress on top. Now you're ready to plate up all your ingredients. Basically it's just one on top of the other here. Place some Creamed Beans on the plate, then a Shank, which has been rolled in Gremolata. Place half a Tomato on top and then some Cress. Drizzle some of your sauce around the plate (hopefully it's not too runny like mine!)

As expected, the meat was so soft and tender, it was a struggle to keep it on the bone long enough to make it to the plate! The dish was delicious and perfect in our beautiful country setting. Unfortunately, it did make it a little hard to look the sheep in the eye the next day, that were wandering around the farm!

1 comment:

Truffle said...

Sounds like the perfect cooking environment and what a beautiful end product!