Lamb shanks in ale

Cooked until the meat’s practically falling off the bone, served with a sticky, dark gravy infused with the taste of dark ale, and topped off with a fresh mint dressing, most people love lamb shanks done this way. Based on a recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Serves 6

3 red onions, peeled

ves 6

Olive oil

Sea salt

Ground pepper

2 handfuls of raisins

3 heaped tbsp thick-cut marmalade

1 heaped tbsp tomato ketchup

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, plus extra for serving

200ml (7fl oz) dark ale (use your favourite)

6 x 350g (12oz) lamb shanks

8 sprigs rosemary

1 litre (1¾pts) chicken stock

To serve

Small bunch fresh mint leaves

Few tbsp olive oil

2 spring onions, trimmed

Cider vinegar

Mash, potato or potato and celeriac

Finely chop the onions. Put them into a large casserole pan, one about 26cm/10½in diameter, 12cm/4½in deep, with a good splash of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over a medium to high heat, stirring, until the onions start to caramelise. Add the raisins and marmalade, then the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and ale. Stir well and leave to gently simmer.

Put the lamb shanks into a large frying pan, one roughly 30cm/12in diameter, on a medium to high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook them in batches if it’s easier. Turn them every few minutes. Once they’ve gone a nice colour put in the rosemary leaves and move them around the pan to get crispy – but don’t let them burn.

Use tongs to move the shanks into the pan of onions, then pour in their juices and the crispy rosemary. Add the stock, put the lid on the casserole, turn down the heat and leave to gently do its thing for about 3 hours, or until the meat is ready to just fall off the bone. Yum.

Turn the shanks halfway through so they cook evenly. About 30 minutes before the lamb is cooked, make some mashed potato. Mashed potato and celeriac, even better.

When the lamb shanks are done, carefully move them to a plate. You need to be careful to ensure the meat stays intact and doesn’t fall apart. Whizz or liquidise the gravy with a stick blender until it’s smooth, allow it to reduce down and thicken.

Take most of the mint leaves and give them a good bashing in a pestle and mortar with a good pinch of salt and the olive oil, put it on the table ready for serving. Finely slice the spring onions and toss onto a plate with the remaining mint leaves, a drizzle of cider vinegar and a pinch of salt.

Put the mash on a plate; arrange the lamb shanks on top. (Do it carefully, you don’t want them falling apart.) Add a splash of cider vinegar and a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, then ladle it all over the platter. Put the rest into jug for people to help themselves. Top with a scattering of the vinegary spring onions and a few fresh mint leaves. Drizzle the mint oil all around the shanks. Serve, and watch it all disappear!












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