My Goodness, My Guinness Lamb Shanks

On my recent trip to Ireland with Tomato, we ate better than I had ever expected based on the reports I had heard from my epicurious friends.  Between the brown bread and the fresh mussels and the sea salt ice cream, it was hard to pick a favorite.  Upon further consideration, when it came down to planning this week’s menu, two meals really stood out as being the best:  braised lamb shanks in Killarney and boxty potatoes in Kenmare.  So here’s my best go to recreate them.

Tonight’s lamb shanks are best described as a simple cut of meat made spectacular with few spices and a delicious sauce.  With Mom in town and a willing participant in the project, I took the time on a slow Saturday afternoon to make Jaime Oliver’s version of Guinness Lamb Shanks, with a few tweaks, of course. While not traditional food to eat whilst screaming at the TV watching football, it was an exception I was happy to make.  After three hours in a slow simmer, the meat easily came off the bone, and the gravy made with Guinness, jam and caramelized onions reduced down to not too sweet, but deliciously rich.  The ingredients below make quite a lot of gravy, even if you reduce it down. That’s intention because, well, we like our gravy.
As for the potatoes to go with my meat, the gold standard for boxty’s was set by Packie’s.  Crispy on the outside, airy on the inside, they melted in our mouths.  In an attempt to duplicate, I used a combination of both mashed and shredded Yukon gold’s in the batter, and pan friend them like normal pancakes.  Sadly, I don’t think they lived up to my expectations, turning out denser than I had hoped.  Therefore, I leave you to find another version that may work better for you.

I do encourage you to try the lamb because, you know, Guinness for Good Health.

Guinness Lamb Shanks
Serves 2
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  1. 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  2. 1- 1/2 heaped TB jam
  3. 1/2 heaped TB ketchup
  4. 1 TB Worcestershire
  5. 3/4 cup Guinness
  6. 2 large lamb shanks
  7. 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  8. 2 cups chicken stock
  9. 2 cups frozen pearl onions
To serve
  1. small bunch of fresh mint leaves
  2. small bunch of parsley
  1. Slice the onions and put them into a deep stock pot, with enough olive oil to coat the bottom and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over a medium to high heat, stirring as you go, until the onions start to caramelize. Add the rosemary and brown a bit. Add the jam, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and beer. Give it all a good stir, then leave to gently simmer.
  2. Sear and brown the lamb shanks into a large frying pan on a medium to high heat with olive oil. Turn them every few minutes. Once brown, move the shanks into the pan of onions with their juices. Add the stock and the pearl onions, and put the lid on, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for around 3 hours, or until the meat falls off the bone easily. Try to turn the shanks halfway through so they cook evenly.
  3. When the lamb shanks are ready, remove them and the pearl onions and put on a serving platter. Using an immersion blender (or carefully if using a standing blender), puree the gravy with a stick blender until smooth, then allow to reduce down and thicken. Sprinkle with parsley and mint and enjoy!
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World


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  1. Dear Hungary,
    I wanted you to know I tried the lamb shank and it turned out awesome! It was a delightful array of subtle spices dancing in my mouth. The meat was fall off the bone tender and the Guinness, jam and lamb juices turned out to make a surprisingly complex and rich gravy that embraced the side dishes that accompanied the meal.

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