Braised Lamb Shanks for pie filling
3 Lamb Shanks
2 sticks of Celery, cut into chunks.
1 large Carrot, cut into chunks.
1 Onion, cut into eight.
3 cloves of Garlic, bashed.
2 tbsp Rape Seed Oil.
1 Knob of Unsalted Butter.
2 Bay leaves.
2 sprigs of Rosemary.
350ml Red Wine.
500ml Beef Stock.
For the Shepherds Pie
2 Large Carrots
1 Large Onion
¼ Turnip (Swede)
Shredded Lamb meat
Reserved Cooking Liquid
2 heaped tbsp Plain Flour
2 tbsp Rape Seed Oil
Lamb Shanks Method
Pre-heat the oven to 150C. In a 6 litre pot, heat the 2 tablespoons of rape seed oil and the knob of butter over a medium to high heat. Once hot season the lamb shanks with salt and brown them in the oil and butter. Take care not to overload the pan and drop the temperature as you are just looking to colour them. Once browned set aside on a plate.
Reduce the heat slightly on the pot and place the Onion, Carrot and Celery, season with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes until it colours add the Garlic cloves and cook for a further minute. Place the lamb shanks back into the pan, moving the softened vegetables around so they are on one level. Pour in the Red Wine and then add the Beef stock so it just comes to the top of the Lamb shanks. Add the Bay leaves and sprigs of Rosemary. Bring to a boil, then cover with the lid and place the pot into the pre-heated oven. Cook for 2.5 – 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender and coming away from the bone.
Once cooked, remove the Lamb shanks from the pot and place on a plate until it is cool enough to handle. While the lamb is cooling, use a slotted spoon to remove the pot and discard. Allow the remaining liquid to settle and skim off all impurities and fat from the surface. Pour the remaining liquid through a sieve into a jug for use later. When the lamb shanks are just cool enough to handle, separate the meat from the bone and any fat or skin. Then shred the meat using two forks. Set aside the shredded lamb meat for later.
Shepherds Pie Method
Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C (fan oven)
Peel the potatoes and cut them into roughly 2.5cm sized pieces. Wash the diced potatoes under cold water to remove any surface starch. Put the potatoes in a large pan of water, add the salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until the potatoes start to soften. Drain the potatoes in a colander and gently shake to remove any excess water. Put the butter in the bottom of the pan and put the potatoes into a ricer and rice into the pan over the top of the butter. Mix the mashed potatoes and butter together while adding a splash of milk to loosen the mixture to a smooth consistency that can be piped. Season the mash potato to taste.
Peel the onion, carrots and turnip and cut into a 1cm dice. In a large sauté pan, heat the rape seed oil and a knob of unsalted butter over a medium heat. Once the butter is frothing add the diced vegetables to the pan, season with a pinch of salt. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes until they have softened, then add the shredded lamb meat to heat through. Sprinkle the flour over the lamb and vegetables and cook for a further 3 minutes until the flour is cooked out. Add 300ml reserved cooking liquid from the braising to the pan, bring it to the boil and then simmer until the sauce has thickened. (If you don’t have enough of the braising liquid, or the sauce becomes a bit thick, you can top it up with hot water from the kettle). Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper, and then place the mixture into a pie dish.
Place the mashed potato into a piping bag with a star nozzle attached. Pipe the potato over the top of the pie filling mixture. Place the shepherd’s pie onto a tray and then onto the middle shelf in the oven. Cook the pie for 20 minutes or until the potato is golden and crispy.
Serve the Shepherd’s pie with some crusty bread and butter.
Fore Leg Shanks. A great slow cooking cut which has become very fashionable in restaurants in recent years. Great when cooked for a long time until the meat just falls away from the bone. Approx 300g each.