Don’t worry about Summer being over… be ‘Shankful’ it’s Fall! …. OK, that was pretty corny, but as it’s sad that the long warm days of Summer are getting shorter and cooler there is a silver lining… now it’s the season for delicious slow cooked comfort foods.
Lamb shanks are one of our favourites to make this time of year. They are an easy dish to prepare and result in a rich delicious meal. The method we use has minimal prep, a slow roast to start then a few hours of braising. There are so many flavour combinations you can use with lamb shanks – just ask Google and you’ll see. For our recipe we used an adaptation of a recipe we found on Cooks Illustrated (Braised Lamb Shanks with North African Spices). Here’s how we did ours…
Two Step Cooking Method:
- Roast…. Salt & pepper shanks then place in Dutch oven and slow roast low temp (325 degrees) with the lid off for about a ½ hour
- Braise… Take shanks out of pot, set aside. On stove, add a bit of oil to Dutch oven, sweat onions and garlic (or whatever you like), add broth, wine, tomato sauce, any spices you like (we used our own Moroccan Dry Rub instead of the Ras al Hanout that CI used). Bring to a boil for a couple minutes to mix ingredients. Put lamb shanks back in, cover and cook at 275 degrees for 2-3 hours or until the meat pulls away from the bone.
The ingredients we use are all approximate and added to taste. I think that you really can’t go wrong when adding whatever appeals to you – here’s the gist of what we used:
4 lamb shanks
3 Cups broth (we generally use whatever is in the freezer – this time we used chicken broth as that’s what we had)
1 C Tomato sauce
½ C White Wine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
2 tbsp MMJ Moroccan Dry Rub
This time we served it with mashed potatoes, some corn we had in the freezer from earlier this summer and a sprinkle of parsley. Delish!!
If ever there was a place that I went to and really really really didn’t want to leave…. It was Yellowlees Farm.
It was a bright and chilly morning when we went to meet Dennis and Karen Yellowlees at their farm where they have been raising sheep for over 20 years. When we got there they were both busy in separate barns as their ewes had begun lambing. Still, during this busy time they both took time out to show us around, chat and fill us in on their farming practices .
The Yellowlees’ raise their animals in a traditional natural way. No antibiotics in the feed. No growth promoting hormones. All healthy diet and clean beautiful barns and fields. The epitome of what we look for in a farm environment.
As we were standing just inside the barn that held lambs that were a week and older with their moms some little ones kept bouncing up to us to see what we were all about. A few of these lambs were either twins or triplets and they are supplemented with bottle milk so they were the boldest thinking we might have something yummy for them. Adorable!
After a great visit we purchased some samples from Karen and headed on our way.
I am trying to find an excuse to go back an visit Yellowlees Farm – just to be there. It is beautiful, warm, comfortable and peaceful – It is hard to really explain it – you’ll just have to go and see yourself someday.
Update – Feb 15 – I think it’s official – Yellowlees produces one of the best tasting lamb in Ontario. We have had a chance to taste it and also to give to some of our ‘testing friends’ to get their unbiased opinion and the jury is unanimous that it is delicious fantastic lamb. I honestly think that there is not only a connection between what an animal eats and how it tastes but also I believe that how that animal is raised makes a difference in the quality. This one is definitely a winner and we hope to be able to provide this to our customers for sure. B.
This week we travelled East of the city to visit a few farms and markets . First up on our day plans was to visit the Found Family Farm near Oshawa where Marianne and Stan Found raise cattle and pigs. John had met Marianne at the Royal Winter Fair some weeks earlier and was compelled by her passion to take this trip out East to visit her farm and some others that she recommended to see how they operate. We met with Stan who graciously showed us around, answered many questions and sold us some samples from his freezer.
Sam, our trusty travel companion, met a friend too – a beautiful old boy named Harley who had many tail wags for her!
Also on our travels we stopped by Ken Lamb’s farm and you guessed it… he raises sheep! We met with Ken’s father Bill who showed us around the place and told us a bit about their operation. It was a very picturesque location. After purchasing some lamb samples from Bill (that we will be sharing with some friends tonight!) we headed back West for home.
A great day meeting new people and seeing new places. It doesn’t get much better than this!