7 Aug 2012

Succulent Slow-Cooked lambshanks with gorgonzola polenta and a scrumptious gravy


I do love cooking lamb. When asked about my favourite dish I usually answer leg of lamb - slowly cooked as my mother would cook it, with herbs and garlic and a delicious gravy - but this type of dish could easily be ranked among my favourites! Lambs shanks, if not handled correctly, are a tough piece of meat that requires care so it can be transformed into a tender bite. And the key is to cook it for a long time - to slow cook!


Slow cooking is one of my favourite methods of cooking. Most of my most successful endeavours have been achieved by applying this methodology to various meats. The key is just using a fatty (and often cheaper cuts of meat) piece of meat and cooking for a long time at a low temperature. This will transform the toughest cut into a "melt in the mouth" experience, and all your guests will praise your cooking talents!

Succulent Slow-Cooked lamb shanks with Gorgonzola polenta and a scrumptious gravy

And this is a wonderful savoury dish - and for those of you who do not want to spend alot of time over pots and pans this is a delicious solution. It only takes 15 minutes to get things going, and the oven and time takes care of the rest!



Lambshanks in a pretty pot

My lovely wife, Snædís, had picked up some Icelandic lamb shanks on her last trip to the homeland. I was home and took care of the kids and this was my reward!


Dried wild mushrooms


I picked these forest mushrooms last fall when my parents were over for a short visit. We drove out to the Swedish countryside and in a small wood near Sjöbö, in central Skåne, we found a ample harvest of lovely boletes. These are boletus badius and a closely related to the porcini (boletus edulis) which often are mostly prised. But these are of equal quality, or at least I think so. I cleaned the mushrooms, sliced down and dried in the oven, 50 degrees Celsius, for a few hours. Stored in a jar until an appropriate moment presents itself. And this was one of those moments!

Fry a few onions & garlic


Sliced one yellow onion, one red, 5-6 garlic gloves and fried in a few tablespoons of extra virgin oil. I also added a couple of branches of rosemary. And when the onions were soft I added the lamb shanks and browned on each side.

Add stock

Then I poured in half a litre of red wine and brought to the boil - just to cook off the alcohol. Next nearly two litres of a hearty beef stock, a heaping teaspoon of chopped timian and the same amount of marjoram. Season with salt & pepper.

Handful of mushrooms

Then I added a handful of the dried boletes. The stock was then brought to the boil again, a lid was placed on the pot and the pot placed in a 120 degrees hot oven for 4-6 hours. Next, do something else. This dish simply cooks itself.

Polenta with Gorgonzola

Making polenta is also a simple venture but requires manual labour and is rather time consuming. For each 250 gramms of polenta you need 1 litre of water. Bring the water to the boil, season with salt, and then add the polenta. Turn down heat and then simmer for 40 minutes and stir frequently. When the polenta is ready I added 150 gr. of Gorgonzola cheese and blend together. Season with salt & pepper. 


Wolf Blass

We enjoyed some Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignion from 2010. This is a wine from the southern parts of the country. It is a good bottle of wine, dark red in the glass, thick as a Cabernet should be. Dark fruits, plums and oak notes. A good Cabernet Sauvignion - and suited the meal well!


Bon appetit

Just before seven o'clock I removed the pot from the oven. Removed the shanks from the stock, and be careful, because the meat wants to fall of the bone. Placed to the side while I quickly made the sauce. Put 30 gr. of butter in a pot and melted, added 30 gr. flour and made a roux, to thicken the sauce. Added 600-700 ml of stock to the roux and stirred together, added 75 ml of heavy cream and brought to a simmer and cooked for a few minutes to cook away the "flour" taste from the roux. And the sauce was ready!

All that remained was just to plate the dish. First the cheesy polenta, then the succulent and tender lamb shank and finally drizzle some sauce over the whole thing!

Bon appetit!

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