Having been caught in the torrential downpour and squelching my way home, all I could think about was nursing myself back to cosy with a treat of an autumnal supper. Something to warm the soul as well as shake the cold out of the house.
I walked through the door, still in my rain coat and wellington boots I turned the oven on and went about the kitchen collecting the ingredients I was going to need for my perfect autumnal supper of slow cooked lamb shanks and spiced pear crumble.
Slow cooked lamb shanks and spiced pear crumble
For the lamb shanks:
My perfect lamb shanks start off with garlic, rosemary and anchovies, yes, anchovies, (don’t tell anyone about this as they’ll turn their nose up at this!) Mash them to a pulp in a pestle and mortar. Stab the lamb shanks and smear the garlic, rosemary and anchovy pulp all over. Brown the lamb shanks in a hot pan. Once browned all over, remove the lamb shanks from the pan and add a chunkily chopped onion and sauté until soft.
In the meantime top and tail some carrots and slice along their length. If you have any tomatoes that need using up, chop these and add them to the pot.
Return the lamb shanks to the pot and add a glass of red wine – if I’m not opening a bottle of wine to drink I tend to use a small 187ml bottle (I buy 5 for £5 when they’re on offer). Add the carrots and cover in a good quality stock. Chop a few more anchovy fillets and garlic and add to the pot. Push a couple of bay leaves and sprigs of rosemary into the liquid. Top with water and bring to the boil before placing in a moderate oven (170˚C) for 2½hrs or until the meat is falling off the shank.
Nearer the end of the cooking time prepare whatever potatoes you want to serve your lamb shanks with. I par-boiled some new potatoes, peeled off their skins and then sautéed them in hot oil with garlic and rosemary.
For the spiced pear crumble: The spiced pear crumble takes its inspiration from a ginger cheesecake with poached pears that I occasionally make. Peel and slice a couple of pears and sauté them in a pan with butter, sugar, star anise, a sprinkle of cinnamon and ground ginger. Stem ginger in syrup adds another dimension to the crumble. Finely chop some stem ginger and add this to the sautéing pears and add some of its syrup straight from the jar. Once the pears become soft decant into an oven proof dish. Sprinkle your crumble mix on top and add some flaked almonds. Don’t add any more sugar to the crumble at this point as the pears in ginger syrup are quite sweet.
Put the crumble into a moderate oven at 190˚C for 15mins or until the fruit is bubbling through and the top is golden brown. Serve with custard, cream or ice cream – I tend to favour a scoop of clotted cream…
Now that is sure to have you warmed through and protected from the rain.