Winter is gone but definitely not forgotten, even with summer peeking around the corner. Especially since Sydney springtime can be notorious for its fickle weather and topsy turvy temperatures. Where we can swelter one day, endure storms the next before ending with a sudden cold snap all in a space of a day or two. Suits me fine though especially when a sunny day suddenly descends into an afternoon rainstorm. Makes for a killer frolicking moment.
Plus it means that I can still enjoy a hearty protein-fueled meal long after winter hangs up its scarf. And this time I was craving lamb shanks big time, braised in copious amounts of sweet alcohol. You can blame this sudden urge on my good friend Lisa, who recently cooked us an amazing lunch where she served veal shanks cooked in PX. I was ecstatic to say the least.
Now I am a meat and potatoes type of girl through and through and braises and stews are my favourite. There’s just something undeniably magical about braised meats especially when it’s comes dressed in a sticky, luminous barbecue-sauce-like glaze and slow cooked until it’s tender. So tender that it sits almost quivering, just barely holding itself intact. And nothing more than a gentle flicker of your fork is needed to tear through its flimsy fibres and break it down into numerous melt-in-your-mouth shards of delicious luscious sweet meat.
Braises are the ultimate in meat erotica.
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Aaaand before you go, there are only a few days left to vote in the Nuffang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards and I would love some Christmas cheer (oh and you can vote every two hours if you REALLY love me hehe). Thanks so much for all your support so far xx
- 2 Tbl of olive oil
- 4 x lamb shanks (frenched if you wish)
- 2 brown onions, sliced into half crescents
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Tbl butter
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 100ml red wine
- 500ml port
- 100ml balsamic vinegar
- 300ml beef stock
- 2 Tbl of brown sugar
- Bouquet garni (parsely, thyme, bay leaves)
- Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over medium high heat, then brown the lamb shanks all all sides until golden. Remove and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium then sauté the onion and garlic with the butter and sugar until lightly golden and caramelised.
- Turn up the heat, then deglaze the pan with the red wine, making sure to scrape the good bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until most of the red wine has reduced.
- Add the port, balsamic vinegar, stock and brown sugar and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to the lowest heat, add the bouquet garni, clamp on the lid then simmer the lamb shanks for approximately 2.5-3 hours or until the lamb is super tender and the sauce has reduced into a thin glaze. Season to taste.
- If you wish for a thicker sauce, discard the herbs and remove the lamb shanks to a plate, then add a paste made from cornflour and cold water and simmer until thickened.
- Serve over a mound of buttery creamy mash. Ladle the sticky glaze over the lamb and shower with chopped fresh parsley.
- Note: You can also pump up the vege content here simply by adding thickly sliced butter mushroom or carrots.