Shanks for the Medicine

Lamb Shanks with Red Wine and Herbs

I’m sick!

I’ve caught the family cold…not that my family have been passing down a special type of cold over the years just your ordinary ‘my daughter caught a cold which was then passed on to my partner and then last but not least, given to me’ type of cold.

The house is full of low husky voices and the smell of eucalyptus (I quite like that smell) and I’m trying to decide whether tomorrow is a work day for me or a snuggle in bed day…usually no contest here but when teaching senior classes you are very careful about any days you take off work.

Last night’s meal was a poached chicken with loads of ginger and garlic, taking care of both the flavour and medicinal factor. Today, there was a need for lounging with the central heating on, a blanket and my couch. Slow cooked lamb shanks with loads of vegetables and half a bottle of red wine (because I couldn’t drink it) took no time to prepare and could be just placed in a low oven to do its magic whilst I slept…for hours!!!

I used to have a slow cooker…but I don’t any more. Every year I promise to get myself a new one but just never get around to it so I slow cook in the oven…there’s something comforting about the oven going on a cold and wet day!

Do I really need to provide a recipe for this? It’s really about putting in whatever you like to go with your lamb shanks. Sometimes I do Moroccan Spices and eat with cous cous…or…Italian spices and serve with mashed cannellini beans…or add preserved lemons and lots more citrus flavours with nuts and dried fruit and serve with rice and pistachios…there are just so many ways you can make this. This is the beauty of cooking…put in what you like and leave out what you don’t.

Today I made slits in each shank and placed some rosemary and garlic in each as I would if I was making a roast lamb. I just scattered in a whole head of unpeeled garlic cloves (love how they get sweet when you squish them out) and carrots, leeks, sweet red peppers, mushrooms and potatoes, half a bottle of red wine and a litre of vegetable stock. I usually mash the potatoes when I use these vegetables but as I was not feeling well, I wanted minimum effort, so halved baby potatoes were thrown in…then…


I slept for more than 2 hours and when I checked on the food it looked and smelt wonderful. In fact that is all I did today, sleep, wake, have a hot drink and then sleep again and all the while, magic was being created in my oven.

Yesterday I made my daughter’s favourite chocolate cake to celebrate the end of a long week of theatre production performances so that was dessert taken care of too.

Even when sick, I love life and good food 🙂


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