I hope you won’t be scared of by the title of this post. I mean, 7 hours of cooking can sound mighty frightening! But let me reassure you, you won’t be working for 7 hours. Au contraire, after some preparations, you can more or less forget about the stew, and let the stove or oven do all the work for you!
This is classic French food and after I tasted it in a restaurant one evening, I knew I had to reproduce this at home. (In case you’re interested, I had it at Brut, a restaurant near Opéra in Paris) Like all stews, the meat becomes wonderfully tender and soft after a such a long time of slow cooking. And in this special case I love how the shanks look after 7 hours of stewing, and the way the meat just falls of the bone.
I’ve heard people around me say they don’t like meat with a bone attached. Maybe it is too much of a reminder of what they are eating, and they prefer to eat meat that is less demonstrative of it’s origine. If you feel the same, maybe it helps to think of the fact that by also eating the parts of the animal that are less easy or quick to prepare, there’s less ‘waste’ (call it nose to tail eating if you want).
The meat is stewed in a veal broth, which I haven’t made myself. I used pre-made stock (I had no more home made stock in the fridge and hey, I’m already doing 7 hours of cooking!). If you want to serve the meat with some vegetables, you could add cubed carrots and some champignon slices about 15 minutes before the meat is done (if you let the vegetables simmer for too long, they become very soft and mushy). If you make this stew in the oven, it’s best to use a low temperature (about 150 C / 300 F). I like to serve it with mashed potatoes or crusty bread, but it goes very well with rice as well.
- Lamb shanks, 1 kg (35 oz), at room temperature
- Salt & pepper
- Butter, ½ tbsp
- Shallot, 1, chopped
- Garlic, 1 clove, chopped
- Veal stock, 600 ml (2 + ½ cup)
- Bay leaves, 3
- Thyme, 3 sprigs
- Fresh peppercorns, 1 tsp
- White wine, splash
- Optional: cubed carrot and sliced champignons
- Take a big pan, suitable for stews (there will be a lot in the pan by the time you're done)
- Heat the butter and season the meat
- Brown the meat, on all sides
- Lower the heat, add the shallot and garlic, and bake for 1-2 minutes
- Add the veal stock, the herbs and pepper corns and let simmer (don't boil!) for 6-7 hours, until the meat falls of the bone
- If you wish to add some vegetables, you can add the carrots and champignons about 15 minutes before the meat is done
- Turn the heat up and let it reduce until you have a thick sauce (stay near the stove at this point, or you'll risk burning the stew)