Slow Cooked Tender Spring Lamb Shanks Braised with Irish Whiskey Served with Colcannon

Hi diddly ho it’s St Patricks Day which also happens to be spring here in the UK and what better way to celebrate than combining the two and having some new spring lamb with Irish whiskey sauce.
There’s a bit of a hodge-podge of people in my office here in London so naturally there’s a few paddys around (that’s Irish if you don’t know). When I asked for an example of a typically Irish dish I could cook, my favourite paddy ‘Disco Daz’ (or Darren as he’d prefer to be called if he had his way) offered up this idea off the top of his head, sheer brilliance, all I had to do then was create it… oh wait, maybe he’s not the genius here after all 😉

You will need a large cast iron pot or an oven dish with a lid and the following:

1 turnip (150g)
6 carrots (400g)
1/2 swede (150g)
1/4 celeriac (150g)
1 potato
2 red onions
3 garlic cloves
4 lamb shanks
200ml red wine
120ml whiskey
500ml hot water
1 beef stock cube
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to around 160 degrees.
Peel and roughly chop all the root vegetables to at least 3cm cubed, quite large as you don’t want them to disintegrate over the 3 hour cooking process.
Salt and pepper the outside of the lamb shanks.
Put the olive oil in the pot on a high heat on the stove and brown the shanks lightly.
Turn the heat down lower and add the whiskey, be careful as it will flambé (flame).
Add the crushed garlic and red wine leaving it for a few minutes so the alcohol burns off.
Add in all the vegetables covering the lamb.
Add the stock to hot water and pour over the vegetables until they are almost covered.
Put the lid on and put into the oven for 3 hours.
Check it every hour to make sure everything is still covered.

With one hour to go you can leave the lid off the pot to reduce the sauce if you wish but you will need to keep checking that the vegetables that are on top don’t burn or dry out too much. I left the lid on in my recipe and it turned out perfectly leaving me over enough veg, stock and juices that you could reduce to a stew if you wanted or just have with delicious colcannon or creamy mash.

Colcannon is an authentic Irish version of mashed potato, to make it you will need:

Around 8 leaves of green cabbage or kale (150g) (finely chopped)
1 large shallot (finely chopped)
3 large potatoes (peeled and roughly chopped)
50g butter
30ml milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the hard spines out of the cabbage leaving the softer leaves.
Put a large pot of water on to boil and when boiled add the finely chopped cabbage to blanch for one minute, this makes the cabbage tender and bright in colour. As soon as its removed from the hot water you can plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process.
Once the potatoes are soft enough to be mashed add them with the cabbage, butter, milk, salt and pepper and 1/2 the spring onions to a food processor. This will not only make sure that the cabbage is even throughout but also allow for super creamy mashed potatoes.
Once creamy you can stir through the remaining spring onions and its ready to serve.

Congrats to the Irish for winning the rugby if you’re into that kinda thing… otherwise just HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY… and happy birthday to my late and great, Grandaddy (Frampa, John August).

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