Slow cooking

Some friends had a shank cooking competition on Sunday at lunch time. The shanks were really good. Geoffrey was the defending title holder; the meat absolutely melted, it was so tender, having been in the slow cooker for many hours in a tomato based sauce, the tastes very subtle. Bruce’s were cooked in the oven and were also delicious, with a richer tomato base and caramelised onions. Importantly, the mashed potato and the mashed sweet potato were also great. Strangely enough, the different versions of lamb shanks reflected the personalities of the cooks, to a degree.

I had not planned on taste testing for the competition and had cooked lamb shanks the night before, ready for Sunday Dinner. I decided to make Jamie Oliver’s shanks cooked in beer which I had cooked once before, after I saw Jamie cook them on television a while ago. They were pretty tasty, and a perfect way to end a pretty cold and bleak winter weekend. 


Jaime made dessert for Sunday Dinner this week – poached pears in vanilla bean syrup – and they were absolutely fantastic, perfectly cooked, and the flecks of vanilla bean in the syrup warmed the cockles of my heart! I am including a photo of the dessert because they looked so beautiful.

Jamie’s lamb shanks cooked in beer

Adapted from from Jamie’s Great Britain by Jamie Oliver

Serves 6


6 Lamb Shanks

3 Red onions, chopped

Olive oil

Sea salt and pepper

Handful of dried raisins

800ml chicken stock

3 Dessert spoons of chunky marmalade

1 Tablespoon of tomato sauce

2 Tbspns Worcestershire sauce

200ml Medium ale

8 stalks of Rosemary

To a large pot add 3 red onions, a glug of Olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Bring the pan to a low/medium heat and leave for 15 mins, stirring occasionally.

While the onions are cooking, season the Lamb shanks with salt & pepper and brown them in a hot pan, turning occasionally.

After 15 minutes add the following ingredients to the onions: a handful of dried raisins, a small cup of chicken stock, 3 dessert spoons of marmalade, a tablespoon of tomato sauce and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

Stir these ingredients together and leave to simmer for a couple of mins before adding 200ml of a medium Ale and a good pinch of sea salt.

Leave the sauce to simmer, add 5 stalks of Rosemary to the browning Lamb shanks and leave for 30 secs before taking off heat and placing them into the pot with the sauce.

Add the rest of the chicken stock to the pot, put the lid on and leave on a low simmer for 3 hours.

After 3 hours, lift the lid on the Lamb shanks pot and carefully remove them, placing them on a plate to one side.

While the shanks are resting, use a hand blender to turn the juices into a lovely rich consistent sauce, adding a final few sprinkles of Worcestershire sauce.