Red wine and coca cola braised lamb shanks with chestnuts and yuzu bulgur wheat

I don’t know why but I have never cooked lamb shanks before, I have had them in restaurants and when I woke up this morning, listening to the rain pouring down outside I knew it was time. Robsons’s butcher had some lovely looking ones and I got one each for us, thinking there might be some left over for a week night dinner as well.

Lamb shanks require low and slow cooking and it is pure comfort food. When it is cooked the meat will fall of the bone and be full of flavour. There is no cream or dairy in the sauce but sugar from the coca cola, I used full fat and would recommend using less rather than diet or zero coke to avoid the taste of artificial sweetener. I used a whole bottle of wine for this and it might seem a bit excessive but I used a £2.99 from the supermarket and it worked just fine!

Lamb shanks with red wine and coca cola sauce 

Preparation time 10 minutes 

Cooking time 2 hr 

Oven 160C or 320F 

Serves 2-3 

Ingredients

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 6 slices of pancetta
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1 can of coca cola (full fat) 320 ml or about 1½ cup
  • stalks of coriander
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1/4 head of savoy cabbage
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 onion
  • 1 dl or 1/2 cup fruit vinegar
  • 16 chestnuts
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • water

To thicken the sauce

  • 3 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Chop the celery, carrot and the onion and set aside. Peel the chestnuts, slice the cabbage. Peel and cut the parsnip in to chunks. Cut the coriander stalks fine. I use them in stews for long cooking, it is a great way to use them and when the leaves are too delicate to add at this point. Trim the lamb shanks of excess fat. Peel the garlic and give it a rough chop. The garlic flavour will mellow as it cooks.

Fry the pancetta in an ovenproof dish and then brown the lamb shanks, make sure they are browned all around. Add the celery, carrot and the onion and let brown briefly. When this is done add the cabbage and the celery stalks. Add the spices, the chestnuts and the wine, the cocoa cola and vinegar. Top up with water if necessary to cover the meat and put the lid on.

Place in the oven and cook for an hour. Take it out and taste, add more salt and pepper if necessary and cook for another hour or util the meat falls of the bone. Before serving mix the corn flower with the water and thicken the sauce.

I served the lamb with the vegetables it cooked with and bulgur wheat.

Yuzu bulgur wheat with fennel and orange 

Preparation time 5 minutes 

Cooking time 15 minutes 

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 dl or 1 cup of bulgar wheat
  • 3 1/2dl or 1 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • buttnernut squash
  • 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup mix of orange juice and yuzu sauce, more yuzu sauce if wished
  • 1/2 fennel
  • 2 spring onions
  • fillets from 1 orange

Dice the butternut squash small, bring the chicken stock to boil and add the butternut squash. Boil for 5 minutes. While that is boiling cut out the orange segments and save the juice. Slice the fennel and chop the spring onion. After 5 minutes add the bulgur wheat and fennel let boil for 5 minutes. Then add the spring onion, the orange and yuzu sauce and the orange segments and let stand for an additional 5-8 minutes or until the bulgur wheat is fluffy and ready to eat.

20Oct_LambShankDinner

All the vegetables made the meal lighter. I was a little worried that the chestnuts would perhaps be too sweet with the coca cola but it worked so well, I just wish I had added more of them! The citrus in the bulgur wheat also made the meal lighter with the acidity from the citrus went well with the rich meat from the lamb. It was full of flavour and so rich. There was a little meat left, just enough for one more dinner. Lamb shanks has a lot of meat on them and one could actually have fed two for dinner so this was indulgent but so lovely.

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