It seems that I’ve become a tennis widow. Every Sunday (weather permitting) Mr Igwe takes himself off out to play tennis for a few hours so I thought I’d take advantage of this unusual free range access to the kitchen (it’s only big enough for one and he occupies it at regular and frequent intervals) to rediscover the art of cooking.
We’ve been without an oven for a while now (a long and quite frankly boring story) and I seem to have been using it as an excuse to cook nothing more adventurous than grilled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli. But that’s all changed this weekend.
I recently read a book about the benefits to health of eating meat cooked on the bone, bone stocks and organ meats. Sounds like the stuff my mum used to feed us as kids (apart from the organ meat bit – well to my knowledge anyway). I love nothing more than a ‘carefully controlled experiment’ so decided to use this new found spare time on Sundays to slow cook some meat on the bone.
This week I settled on slow-cooked lamb shanks, the kind of thing that would set my mouth watering on a pub menu. It began on Saturday! I cooked up some chicken bones (organic of course) with a carrot, onion, fennel tops, bay leaves and sprig of rosemary to make the stock base for the shanks.
This morning saw preparations begin for the main event.
1) Season some flour and dredge the two lamb shanks in it
2) Melt some coconut oil in a pan and fry the shanks on all sides until golden brown
3) Remove form the pan and set aside
4) De-glaze the pan with 125ml of red wine and boil until reduced by half
5) Add 150ml of stock, a sliced red onion, bay leaf and seasoning
6) Put the shanks back in the pot and make sure 2/3 of them are covered (add more stock or boiling water as needed)
7) Bring back to the boil and put the lid on leaving a small gap for the steam to escape
8) Move the pot to a small ring and leave to simmer very gently (barely at all) for about three hours (adjust this to suit the size of the shanks you have
9) When the meat is falling away from the bones, remove the shanks from the pot and strain the remaining liquid
10) Put back in the pot and reduce by half
11) Add some flour (mixed to a paste with a bit of water first) to thicken the gravy and stir until it comes to the boil and thickens
12) Shred the meat off the bones and serve with veggies of your choice