This is a recipe for Braised Shank Of Lamb, slow cooked in red wine, served with lightly herbed Lamb Faggots: it is traditionally made in the rural farmhouses of Wales at Easter, when Welsh lamb is at its best, and goes handsomely with cabbage, seasonal vegetables and mashed potato – making for a truly seasonal and wonderful recipe, a recipe which typifies at once both the homeliness and skill of the rural cook.
Forget about having to carve a large ‘roast’ at Easter; instead make a fine Easter feast with these easy-to-do, individually slow-cooked braised lamb shanks, where you can pull the fragrant, tender lamb from the bone, rustic style – the meat from these slow cooked lamb shanks is meltingly soft; and when coupled with the added texture and herb taste of the wonderful and traditional Welsh lamb faggots, you will find this a really appetising meal, with deep and satisfying levels of flavour, (particularly so in the reduced red wine stock made into a gravy) so good it promotes a deep contentment from within, (at least it did with me).
Making Traditional Faggots: to make the traditional Welsh Faggot it is best to buy all your lamb from a good local butcher, and while there ask them for the necessary ‘caul fat’ – this is a type of fat which resembles ‘netting’ which you wrap the faggots in to help keep their shape when cooking. Try to give your butcher a few days advance warning of what you wish to order, if you say you are making faggots they will know exactly what caul fat you need.
Braised Shank Of Lamb With Lamb Faggots Recipe
serves 4: you will need a large, deep casserole dish.
For the Faggots
- 350g minced lamb (Welsh Lamb is recommended at Easter)
- 75g lamb’s liver, chopped
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 75g fresh white breadcrumbs
- small handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped fine
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped fine
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 250g caul fat
- 500ml chicken stock (for poaching)
For the Lamb Shanks
- 4 lamb shanks, (Welsh Lamb is recommended at Easter)
- 2 Litres chicken stock
- 750ml (one bottle) of good red wine
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, halved
- a few sprigs of rosemary
- 3 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp redcurrant jelly
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
To make the faggots:
In a mixing bowl mix together the lamb mince, chopped liver, beaten egg, breadcrumbs and finely chopped sage and rosemary leaves with a wooden spoon. Once brought together mix everything with your hands, seasoning with the salt and pepper. Break the faggot mixture into equal sized pieces and shape (roll) into medium sized balls. Wrap the balls tightly in a piece of caul fat – cut large enough to wrap the faggot all over.
Put them on a plate and leave to rest and chill in the fridge for an hour. After an hour heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and sear two or three faggots at a time in the hot oil. Brown them all over, giving each of them a deep colour. Once nicely browned reserve for later – 30 minutes before serving the Braised Lamb Shanks poach the faggots in the chicken stock, after 30 minutes of simmering drain and serve.
To make the lamb shanks:
Preheat the oven to 150C
Rub sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and some finely chopped rosemary leaves into the lamb shanks. Then in a large frying pan heat some vegetable oil, brown each of the lamb shanks all over individually and place them in a large, deep casserole dish.
In the frying pan brown the carrots, celery, onion and garlic (chop the garlic cloves in half, there is no need to peel the skin off). Add all the browned vegetables to the casserole pot. Spoon over the honey and red currant jelly. Add in a couple of rosemary springs and cover everything over with the red wine and chicken stock.
Put the casserole dish on to the cooker hob and bring the liquid up to the boil on a high heat. Place the lid on the casserole dish and put it in the oven at 150C for 2 hours.
After 2 hours the lamb should be very tender and falling off the bone. Remove the casserole dish from the oven, take the shanks out of the liquid stock and put them on an oven tray – put them back in the oven for a further 10 minutes at 180C to crisp up a little of the outside meat. Then remove and let rest for twenty minutes.
Sieve the juices and stock out of the casserole dish into a saucepan to remove the larger particles. Boil this stock down until it reduces into a thick red wine gravy.
Serve the Braised Shank Of Lamb With Lamb Faggots:
Serve the lamb shanks and lamb faggots with some braised cabbage, seasonal vegetables, mashed potato and red wine gravy.