Chef Dario Cavaliere writes a weekly food column for the Waterford News & Star
WHEN time is on your side slow cooking meat is a great way to get plenty of flavour into the meat. Lamb shanks are an example of a piece of meat, which needs to be cooked slowly. It is part of the lamb leg, just beneath the knee. You need to cook it at a low temperature, for several hours so that the meat absorbs most of the cooking stock and becomes tender. It tastes great with mash potatoes or creamy polenta, and plenty of sauce.
4 lamb shanks
2 red onions, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp. tomato puree
2 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 rosemary sprig
1 pint red wine
100ml cider vinegar
100ml beef stock
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. plain flour
Salt and pepper
Dust the lamb shanks with the flour and shake off any excess. Heat a large casserole dish or stockpot and add the olive oil and butter. Fry the shanks over medium heat until browned on all sides. Then add the onions and cook until they have softened. Add the herbs, red wine, vinegar, puree and season well with salt and pepper.
Cover with a lid and place in a preheated oven at 150oC. Cook for 2 ½ hours then reduce the oven to 100oC and cook for a further 30 minutes uncovered.
Carefully remove the shanks and place on a serving platter. Loosely cover with tin foil and allow to rest.
Place the cooking liquid into a saucepan, and simmer until slightly thickened. Add 1 tbsp. of butter and stir until completely incorporated and glossy. Pour the sauce over the shanks and serve immediately.
Creamy Mash Potatoes
800g Maris piper potatoes
250ml hot milk
Salt and pepper
Grate of fresh nutmeg
30g snipped chives
Peel the potatoes and cut each one into quarters. Place in a large pan of cold water with 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer.
Cook the potatoes for 15 minutes, or until the potato breaks in half when prodded with a fork. Drain the cooked potatoes and cover with a tea towel to keep hot.
Meanwhile, boil the milk. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and mash using a potato masher until there are no lumps. Add the hot milk and whisk using a hand whisk or an electric whisk on low speed. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until melted and incorporated. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
Add the grating of fresh nutmeg, and stir well. Pile the creamy mash potatoes into a large warmed bowl, and finish with the snipped chives.