Red-wine braised lamb shanks - serving

R is for Red wine braised lamb with chorizo

This weekend I was lucky enough to have a friend round for dinner, so decided to slow cook something i.e. put in the merest effort in the preparation and then happily left the food to its own devices  (producing some powerful flavours) whilst we watched a film and caught up.

The recipe here is ideal for lamb shanks, but alas I couldn’t get any, so settled for cutlets. I have cooked it before with shanks and the only difference with the recipe here is that it needs 30minutes overall cooking time.

I’m very partial to a Rioja wine, but this time I used Barefoot’s Merlot, with it’s dark fruit flavours complement the meat very well. The key thing about the red wine is that you need to cook with one you enjoy drinking….after all you only use half a bottle in the recipe – you can’t very well leave the other half, it wouldn’t be proper

Barefoot Merlot

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 lamb cutlets – 2 per person
  • Olive oil
  • 400ml red wine
  • 200ml balsamic vinegar
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 1 bulb of garlic – cut in half horizontally
  • 125g chorizo (cut into chunks)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and chopped into 2cm slices)
  • 1 red onion (cut into wedges)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp of black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tbsp honey

Lamb cutlets - browning

Recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Season the lamb with a little salt and pepper. Add the oil to a large frying pan, and once hot add the lamb cutlets (or shanks) and brown – turning every couple of minutes to ensure an even colour.
  2. Put a large ovenproof pan (with a lid) over a high heat and add the wine and balsamic vinegar and leave to boil for 5 minutes. Then add the browned lamb shanks, garlic, bay leaves, stock, paprika, peppercorns and 2 of the sprigs of rosemary.
  3. Leave the pan to come to the boil again (with the lid on). As soon as it reaches a boil, move to the oven and leave for 1hour 30 minutes. Set a timer and forget about it, whilst you enjoy the remaining wine…and perhaps another bottle.
  4. After the timer is up, take the pan out the oven. There may be an initial waft of balsamic vinegar as it escapes, but if you try the liquid now, you’ll notice the vinegar flavour has already mellowed a lot and there will be no trace of alcohol flavours. Add the chorizo, carrots, red onion and the remaining rosemary and return to the oven for another hour – again set a timer to be sure.
  5. After the hour is up, you’ll find the meat is almost falling off the bone. Using a slotted spoon remove the lamb, chorizo and vegetables – I put this on a platter and cover with tin foil to keep warm. Then put the remaining sauce over a high hob heat and boil for 10 minutes to further reduce and intensify the flavours.
  6. Serve up the meat, veg and a good slosh of the sauce with mash potato if you’re in the mood for it and presto – an impressive, warming and flavourful dinner.

Red-wine braised lamb shanks

Red-wine braised lamb shanks

Red-wine braised lamb shanks - serving

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Eton Mess

E is also for Eton Mess

This is an incredible easy recipe, unlike the previous E. Just a few key ingredients, a few moments of effort are required to deliver this delicious dessert.
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 8 meringue nests (homemade or bought)
  • 300g strawberries
  • 200g raspberries
  • 400ml double cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons of caster sugar
Recipe:
  1. Cut off the green stalks front the strawberries and cut each fruit into similar sizes as the raspberries.
  2. Set aside a couple of pieces of strawberry and raspberr and dribble the balsamic vinegar and caster sugar over the strawberries and leave to stoop for a couple of hours. Don’t worry, the balsamic ail help bring out the taste of the fruit rather than overpowering it.
  3. Crush the meringues. You want a mix of chunky pieces, small pieces, and sand-like dust.
  4. When you’re ready to serve the dessert, whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks (this should only take 1 minute by hand).
  5. Fold in the fruit (juice and all), meringue into the cream and top each serving with a couple of pieces of fruit.
  6. This recipe should serve 4 greedy people

Eton Mess - fruit

Eton Mess