Looking back I surprised myself by finding that the recipe upon which this is based doesn’t actually include rosemary. It’s lamb for heaven’s sake! Surely if you marinate lamb without rosemary it becomes a police matter? Nigel Slater’s original [which I can’t find online, he must want you to buy the book] used thyme. But my most fondly remembered version of this was made using the extravagantly perfumed sprigs of the council funded, ‘help yourself” rosemary bush by the post office in Salcombe, Devon.
Ditch End across the estuary in East Portlemouth, the sumptuous seventies porn-palace of a house where we stayed, has since disappeared – I hope the same isn’t true of the municipal herb garden.
- 2 lamb shanks
- rosemary sprigs, several
- 2 bulbs of garlic, sliced in half across their equators
- a bay leaf
- a piece of cassia bark [or a cinnamon stick]
- sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons
- an onion, chopped
- red wine, a bottle [something full and fruity]
- a dozen juniper berries, lightly crushed and wrapped in muslin
- anchovy fillets, a couple
Marinate the lamb in the wine, with the sherry vinegar, garlic, rosemary, bay, cassia and juniper. Leave this at least overnight. I think the Salcombe version was delayed by a day and so had a good 48 hours.
Heat some oil in a heavy, lidded casserole dish. Pat dry the marinated lamb, toss it in a little flour, and brown well on all side. Set the lamb aside and soften the onions in the same pan, adding more oil if necessary. Once the onions are soft and golden chop the anchovy fillets well and add to the pan, cooking for a couple of minutes more.
Return the lamb to the pan. Remove the juniper parcel from the marinade then add the rest to the casserole, and bring to a simmer. Now into the oven, for either 2 hours at 200°C, or 4 hours at 150°C. Remove the finished lamb to somewhere warm to rest whilst you check the sauce for seasoning, fish out the rosemary sprigs and bay leaf, and thicken if necessary. The garlic should be yieldingly soft, and depending on your taste you might smoosh [this word exists, so they tell me!] some of the softened innards into the sauce whilst removing the papery skins, or discard them altogether – their flavouring work is done.
Serve with – what else? – mash!
a #clocksgoback recipe