lamb shanks cooked with calamity

A few weeks ago, Morrisons had some lamb shanks reduced – £2.10 a pair. Believe it or not, I’ve never actually cooked lamb shanks before, but I bought a couple of packs and stowed them away in the freezer. Decided to cook them on Sunday, so on Saturday I bunged a load of flageolet beans in the slow cooker, left them for a few hours, and turned them off, then drained them on Sunday morning.

I didn’t get to the rest of the cooking, as I was feeling distinctly unwell, and could barely eat, never mind cook.

lamb shanks in the slow cookerSo on Monday evening, I browned the lamb shanks and put them in the slow cooker pot, on top of a bed of flageolets, fried off a courgette and two large carrots, diced. Added them to the pot, and browned a dozen shallots, and added them. Then into the frying pan went a good teaspoon of grain mustard and a dessertspoon or so of brown flour – stirred those together and added about a glass of red wine, stirring as I went. Whisked that up to get rid of lumps, added some of the shallot water (I always soak them in boiling water before I peel them – it makes it easier, and you get nice shallot-y water too!). Then some random herbs from the garden – bay, rosemary, sage, thyme, juice of an orange, and a sloosh of tomato puree. I meant to add some redcurrant jelly, but forgot.

All of that was brought to the boil, lobbed in the slow cooker, and I switched it on low and went and sat down. And when I came out an hour later, there was no heat at all. Eek. Switched it up to high, left it an hour, and it was hot, but not as hot as it should be. Turned it to low when I went to bed, and when I got up in the morning – DEAD. Stone bloody cold, lamb uncooked. And when I tested the beans, they were uncooked too.

With some four letter words, I decanted the lot into my faithful old cast iron casserole, and set it over a low heat. We only bought that slow cooker 22 months ago, so I’m not pleased, but it was from an eBay seller who is no longer registered. So I nipped over to Argos and bought another – bigger! better! cheaper! The old one was 4.5l, and the new 6.2; the extra volume will be useful.

The lamb was delicious, and somehow I made space in the freezer for two of them, but we really are in a “one out one in” scenario at the moment, as it is full to the gunwhales with xmas fayre.

Leftover juice and veg went into the new slow cooker, together with some barley and more water, and I experimented making some soup with it. This one actually simmers things on high, which the old one never did, and the extra capacity is great for soup making. And for £15, who can complain? Actually, now I look, it’s gone down another pound since yesterday – grab yourself a bargain!