Prep 30 mins
Cook 3 hrs
In her new cookbook "BONES", Jennifer McLagan tells us "Meat on the bone imparts flavour like nothing else". In this exerpt from her new book, she makes a case for bringing bones back in the kitchen and to our tastebuds. (LCBO Food and Drink, Winter, 2006). Cooking "en papillote" is a technique that seals food in a paper package with flavourings, and baked. Ask your butcher to "french" the shanks for you... or do it yourself. You will want to expose about 3 inches of the shank bone, thus allowing you to tie the parchment paper to the bone. The packages will not be airtight, so they won't puff up, but the tehnique concentrates the flavours, and makes a great presentation. If parchment paper is too fussy for you, just make the dish in a Dutch Oven. What to Serve: Guinness Draught Beer Wine: Seaview Sparkling Shiraz
- 4 (12 ounce) lamb shanks, frenched
- kosher salt
- black pepper, freshly ground
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 medium onions, sliced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 4 large rosemary sprigs
- 330 ml beer, One bottle Guinness draft, not stout
- 1⁄3 cup brown sugar, well packed measure
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 4 garlic cloves, halved
- 1 orange
- Preheat Oven 300F (150C).
- Pat the lamb shanks dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. Transfer shanks to a plate. Add onions to the pan, stirring well to coat in the fat, then cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring 2 or 3 times while scraping the bottom of the pan each time.
- Add the carrots, celery and rosemary; cook uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan from time to time. Pour in the beer and bring to a boil, deglazing the pan by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Add the sugar, mustard and garlic and continue to boil, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes, or until the beer becomes thick and syrupy.
- Meanwhile, remove 4 large strips of zest from the orange with a vegetable peeler and squeeze 1/4 cup (50 mL) juice from the orange. Add the zest and juice to the pan. Continue to cook until the liquid just glazes the onions. Remove from the heat and let it cool. You will have 3 to 4 cups (750 mL to 1 L) onion mixture.
- Cut four, 15 inch (38-cm) squares of parchment paper. Divide the onion mixture among the squares of parchment paper, placing it in the middle of each square. Make sure that each square has a rosemary sprig, an orange zest strip and 2 garlic halves. Stand a lamb shank on top of each (it will lean to one side); pull up the corners of the parchment paper to form a package, tying it with string, around the exposed bone.
- Stand the packages in a Dutch oven or baking dish and bake for 3 hours.
- Remove from the oven and place the packages on warmed plates. Cut the strings but allow each diner to open his or her own package.
The first really cold day of the year here, so I needed comfort food, and lamb shanks are definitely comfort food. These were absolutely divine - the meat was tender and just about fell off the bones, and the flavour was sensational. The only change I made was to substitute a local beer (after consultation with my partner, the beer connisseur of the house) for the Guinness as we didn't have Guinness and I wasn't prepared to go out into torrential rain and gales. Instructions were really easy to follow, and the parchment paper packages made a great presentation. I'm making this the next time my parents come for dinner. I just served the lamb with mash - didn't worry about any other vegies - and spooned a bit of the gravy from the shanks over the top of my potatoes - it tasted divine (I'm running out of superlatives here!). Thank you very much for sharing this - we're going to be making this recipe a lot over the winter.