I love winter, because it is the perfect weather for drinking stout and cooking lamb shanks. Yep, time to break out the casserole pot and crack open a big juicy stout or porter or Belgian tripel and enjoy, and whilst you are at it, chop up some carrots and celery with some onion, thyme and other stuff, brown off some lamb shanks, throw in a bit of stock and stout and sit back and let it do its thing. When I wrote my cook book, Cooking with Beer, it was obvious that I needed to have at least one recipe in there using lamb and Guinness. So here, for your cooking and drinking pleasure, is my recipe for this very famous pairing.
Pre heat your oven 160°c fan forced or 180° normal
2 good meaty lamb Shanks
½ cup plain flour
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of freshly cracked Black pepper
½ teaspoon of cardamom powder
½ teaspoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of cayenne powder
Put all the dry ingredients in to a clean plastic shopping bag and give them a toss around to combine. Put shanks into shopping bag and twist the bag around to seal. Give the bag a good shake so as to coat the shanks well.
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 eschallots – peeled
1 large carrot – peeled and chopped on the diagonal into 1cm thick pieces
4 cloves of garlic – peeled
2 sprigs of lemon thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
12 kalamata olives
1 tomato – chopped
1 piece of lemon rind – no white pith on it
1 ½ cups of Guinness
1 cup of beef stock
3 Kipfler potatoes – washed and cut in to 2cm thick disks
24 green beans – top and tailed
Heat the olive oil in an oven proof casserole dish on the stove over high heat. Hit the shanks together to knock off excess flour and add the shanks to the hot oil and brown on all sides. Once browned add the eschallots, garlic and carrot to the pan with the shanks and allow them to cook and colour for several minutes. Add the herbs, olives, tomato, and lemon rind to the pan and stir to combine all the flavours with the rest of the ingredient in the pan. Cook for about five minutes. Add the beer and the stock stir and bring to the boil. Put a lid on the casserole dish and place in the oven and cook for one hour. After one hour turn the shanks over and add the potatoes. Cook covered for another hour then remove lid and add the beans and cook for ten minutes or until beans are cooked to your liking. The sauce should have reduced to a nice consistency if it hasn’t you can remove the shanks and the vegetables and put them in a large bowl and leave them in the oven – turned off – to keep them warm. Place the casserole dish on the stove over medium high heat and reduce the sauce until you have a consistency you want. Return the shanks and vegetables to the casserole and mix well so they are all coated with the sauce.