Most of the recipes I’ve chosen come from the north of our region but this one is straight from Beaujolais, 15 minutes south of Macon. Originally a leg of lamb braised in red wine I’ve modified it for lamb shanks which I adore, are cheaper than a leg and look so good served on a plate. It’s a very variable recipe that can be cooked for two or twenty people, the only limitation being the size of your casserole or oven. Therefore there are no weights or quantities, just use as much as is needed. So here goes!!
Lamb shanks braised in red wine with haricot beans served with mashed potato.
Heat some oil in a cast iron casserole.
Take one lamb shank per person, season and brown on all sides two or three at a time. Keep them to one side.
Slice onion and carrot (enough to cover the bottom of the casserole by an inch – this is to keep the meat from being in contact with the base of the dish). Allow it to cook gently until starting to soften but not brown. The onion should start to become translucent.
Arrange the shanks on top of the onion and carrot – it doesn’t matter if they don’t fit in one layer, just stack them up remembering that you have to put a lid on this! Sprinkle a spoonful of plain flour over the top and turn the shanks gently to coat them and start cooking the flour. Pour over a glass or two of red wine just to cover the vegetable at the bottom. Bring to the boil, sprinkle with fresh rosemary, cover and put in a slow oven (gas 3, 160 degrees C) for 60-90 minutes depending on how many you are cooking. Test with a skewer, but the meat should have shrunk away from the bone and be dark brown, the skewer should go in very easily and the juices run clear.
Remove from oven, take out lamb and keep warm. Drain a can or two of white haricot, butter or mixed beans (one 400g tin will do 3-4 people), pour in with a tin or two of chopped tomatoes, and mix well. Bring to a simmer, check seasoning and adjust as necessary. Put the lamb back on top and return to oven while you cook your potatoes which should be mashed with melted butter and milk.
To serve, put a large dollop of mashed potato on one side of the plate, take a shank and rest the bone end on the potato and spoon the bean mixture over the meaty end. Serve perhaps with a few florets of broccoli just to give a bit of colour. Enjoy!!