Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Cold weather fare.


The days are still warm but the nights are cold. Winter is coming, and with it, stews and soups.

Lamb Shank soup was a winter staple when I was growing up. On the way home from school I could smell this amazing aroma from like half-way up the street. On entering the kitchen and heading straight for food, as you do, there would be a massive two-handled pot on the stove, bubbling away and filled to the brim with carrots, parsnip, onion, barley and parsley, with the succulent meat falling off the bone. 'No you CAN'T have some yet. It's not ready. I've just put the barley in. Here, eat this half loaf of bread instead! And some cheese! Or the rest of last night's rice pudding!'

(In those days, you would never find lamb shank in a restaurant, it was considered a quaint, homely dish that you wouldn't go 'out' to eat.)

I like this version of lamb shank stew.

Lamb shanks with red wine and rosemary.

Brown four shanks in oil after dusting them with salt and pepper. Remove shanks and add two chopped carrots, a large chopped onion and a couple of scored garlic cloves to the pan. Saute, then add two cups of red wine, two cups of stock, a can of diced tomatoes with their juice and a dessertspoon of chopped rosemary. Return shanks to pot and simmer for a couple of hours if you can wait that long.

Serve with polenta or garlic mashed potatoes.

(Shanks are all the rage in restaurants now. The poor man's 'cheap' cut is now gourmet fare. But do they really have to serve the shank sticking bolt upright out of the mash like a tree trunk on a small island?)

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