SUCCULENT Shank is delicious slow cooked with veg.
And so harvest came. Our herd of sheep had enjoyed grass, comfort, care, nature, and company throughout the year and we recently harvested some of the animals for meat for the coming year. The early-born lambs, or those from last year, went to the abattoir and afterwards we laid out the various pieces to see how and when we would eat them. It was decided to cook some shanks, some cutlet chops, and some shoulder gigot chops freshly, while freezing the rest.
Already those three cuts have huge variations and differences. The shank because of its bone is cooked deliciously over time in the oven with slow cooked vegetables around it. The cutlet, being relatively small, is an interesting mixture of a very lean ‘eye’ piece in the cut while also presenting a line of fat crying out to be cooked crispy along one length, the grill for this one. It should be cooked, hot, fast, and allowed to rest. Spoilt of over-cooked.
The shoulder cuts are more fatty by nature. I remember my mum cooking these in casserole dishes in the oven with a little bit of liquid and flavours she liked, for a slightly slower cook with a lower temperature.
And so we started cooking!
Grilled lamb cutlets
What you need
- 4 local lamb cutlets
- Sea salt
- Tin foil for your grill
What you do
Place some folded tinfoil over your grill tray to hold onto all the juices and so they don’t run off and make your grill smell next time you have cheese and toast!
Lay each cutlet down, season well with salt, and lightly drizzle a touch of olive oil. Into a pre-heated grill at maximum heat place the tray of chops in and close the door. Leave cooking for five minutes. At this stage the fat will be spitting and the meat browning – you want this!
With a fork turn the cutlets over, place back under grill with door closed. After two minutes turn off the grill completely and leave the door closed for another five minutes to help the meat rest and relax. Place the cutlets on a warm plate with some new potatoes and green veg. Definitely use your fingers for eating the chops. One side will be deliciously crispy and browned, with the underside more gently cooked and softer, with a touch of pink without being undercooked, rather than being cooked through all brown and a bit too dry.
Shoulder gigot chops
What you need
- 4 shoulder gigot chops
- Sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 15 black peppercorns, whole
- ½ mug liquid
What you do
Into porcelain oven dish lay the chops down, chop the Rosemary leaves, peeled garlic, sprinkle over meats. Add the whole peppercorns, bay leaves, and half mug of water, beer, wine (or mix of all three!), and season.
Place tin foil over the dish and place in pre-heated oven of 150 degrees celsius for 90 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for ten minutes. Save with new potatoes and seasonal veg, such as carrots or leeks, spoon a bit of the juices over the meats when serving.
Red’s lamb shank
What you need
- 2 lamb shanks
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and roughly sliced
- 4 new potatoes, washed and halved
- 1 white onion, peeled and each half cut into quarters
- Glass red wine
What you do next
Over recent years I have always browned the shanks in a hot pan over gas with oil and salt just to add caramelisation and brown flavor before the meat goes in the oven. Prepare you veg and after placing browned shanks in a roasting dish just place veggies all around and pour the liquid over the lot.
Place in preheated oven of 160 degrees celsius for a full two hours 20 minutes, jiggling or stirring it two or three times during that time. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
You can either shred meat from the bone and serve as a stew type thing, or serve one whole shank each to hungry bodies. You can also add a knob of butter rolled in flour before roasting if you like a thicker juice.
Redmond Cabot of Cabots of Westport has had a lifelong interest in food. In 2010 he began selling fresh food sauces at Westport Country Market, open every Thursday at the Old Railway Hotel, North Mall, Westport, 7.30am-1pm.