My Autumn Lamb Casserole, cause of much Twitter conversation this week…

Autumn Lamb Shanks

Some 12 years ago on a website called Litnet, I wrote a monthly post called, My Kitchen Table. One of the posts contained a recipe for a dish I had just made up using classical cooking methods which I called My Autumn Lamb Casserole. A Tweeter, @bigbigjoe, picked it up and only several years later I met him and he told me how much he loved my recipe. This past week he cooked it again and it became the subject of a Twitter conversation. To see the original, click here, though please notice that neither my website nor the email address are current. Please CLICK HERE to see the original post and also to get a fabulous Steamed Pudding recipe from the immortal Maggie Pepler.

So here is is then

Autumn Lamb Casserole, about to go to the oven. Photo by @bigbigjoe

Autumn Lamb Casserole

You’ll need…
2.5kg Lamb Shanks, cut into 3cm slices
seasoned flour
4 Tbs Olive Oil
4 Tbs butter
3 onions – roughly chopped
4 fat cloves garlic – finely sliced
125ml good Cape Brandy
375ml full bodied red wine
3 Tbs tomato paste
3 Tbs apple or quince jelly
50ml sherry or red wine vinegar
750ml beef stock, I always use NOMU
25g flat leaf parsley – chopped [weight to include stalks
2 large sprigs fresh thyme
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
6 medium carrots – peeled and sliced into wine cork sizes
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper.

What you’ll do…
Make the seasoned flour by adding sea salt and freshly milled black pepper to the flour, seasoning it really well.  In a heavy oven proof casserole, heat the olive oil and in it melt the butter.  Dip the lamb pieces into the seasoned flour and shake off the excess.  Brown the lamb over medium heat on all sides.  Do not overcrowd the pan.  Set the pieces aside until you have completed the browning.   Add the onions and sauté until just starting to colour.  Slip in the garlic and stir fry for a few minutes.  Add the brandy and immediately set it alight to burn off all the alcohol.  Now pour in the red wine, raise the temperature and reduce the red wine by half.  Stir in the tomato paste, jelly, sherry vinegar, beef stock, parsley and herbs.  You’ll find during the cooking process the herbs will cook off the stalks and you can remove the stalks before serving.  Return the meat to the casserole, add the carrots and season well with the sea salt and freshly milled black pepper.  Bring to the boil and then bake, covered in the oven at 180°C for 2½ hours.  Taste the sauce and readjust the seasoning and serve with Basmati rice and a green vegetable like runner beans.

Serves 6

Wine Recommendation
The Asara Wine Estate and Luxury Hotel has some sublime wines on offer and from their Vineyard Collection, I would choose the Cabernet Sauvignon the current vintage is the 2015. My go to Cabernet whenever anyone asked what a good Cabernet tastes like, packed with red and black fruit, supported by well applied oak. Good long aftertaste, a wine to drink whole reflecting after dinner.

Read more about Asara Wine Estate and Luxury Hotel – www.asara.co.za.

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