Our winning recipe: Liz Dirkse van Schalkwyk's slow roasted lamb shanks on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes with fennel, apple & pea salad
Slow roasted lamb shanks
2-4 lamb shanks, around 400g each
1 tsp each salt and pepper
2 - 3 tbsp olive oil, separated
1 cup onion, finely diced (brown, yellow or white)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup carrot, finely diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
2 1/2 cups / 625 ml red wine, full bodied (good value wine, not expensive!)
800g can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups / 500 ml chicken stock, low sodium (or water)
5 sprigs of thyme (preferably tied together), or 2 tsp dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves (or 4 fresh)
Preheat the oven to 180oC.
Pat the lamb shanks dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy based pot over high heat. Sear the lamb shanks in 2 batches until brown all over, about 5 minutes
Remove lamb onto a plate and drain excess fat (if any) from the pot.
Turn the heat down to medium low. Heat remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in the same pot, if needed. Add the onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes.
Add carrot and celery. Cook for 5 minutes until onion is translucent and sweet.
Add the red wine, chicken stock, crushed tomato, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to combine.
Place the lamb shanks into the pot, squeezing them in to fit so they are mostly submerged.
Turn stove up, bring to a simmer. Cover, then transfer to the oven for 2 hours.
Remove from oven, remove lid, then return to the oven for another 30 minutes (so 2 1/2 hours in total). Check to ensure lamb meat is ultra-tender (use 2 forks) - if not, cover and keep cooking. Ideal is tender meat but still just holding onto bone.
Remove lamb onto plate and keep warm. Pick out and discard bay leaves and thyme.
Strain the sauce into a bowl, pressing to extract all sauce out of the veggies.
Pour strained sauce back into pot. Bring to simmer over medium heat and reduce slightly to a syrupy. Taste then add salt and pepper to taste.
12 medium potatoes suitable for mashing, peeled
1 1/4 cups hot whole milk
1 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature (not melted)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1 Tbsp fresh parsley or chives, finely chopped for garnish
Peel potatoes (cut potatoes in half if very large). If you want the potatoes to be the smoothest possible, you can take the time to remove the little knots from the potatoes with a small spoon or the tip of a potato peeler. Place potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook partially covered until easily pierced with a knife (boil 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes).
Drain well and transfer to the bowl of your stand mixer. (You can also use a bowl and hand mixer). Grab the whisk attachment and mash potatoes lightly by hand to break them up. Fit mixer with whisk attachment and start mixer on low speed 30 seconds then increase to medium and slowly drizzle in 1 to 1 1/4 cups HOT milk.
With mixer on, add softened butter 1 Tbsp at a time, waiting a few seconds between each addition. Potatoes should be whipped and fluffy. Finally add 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste.
To keep mashed potatoes warm until serving: cover potatoes and place into a warm oven or transfer to a slow cooker on the warm setting to keep potatoes warm until ready to serve.
Fennel, apple & pea salad
3 Medium sized Fennel Bulbs
2 Green Apples
100g Frozen Peas
80ml of olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp caster sugar
100g of Parmesan
2 tbsp of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Cut the fennel bulbs lengthways into quarters, discarding any ugly outer leaves and cutting away the core.
Peel and core the apples and cut lengthways into quarters.
Use a large chefs knife to cut the fennel and apple into very thin slices.
Add frozen peas, fennel and apple into a bowl and cover with water.
Pour the olive oil into a large bowl, add the lemon juice, then crush the salt between your fingers and add it to the bowl along with the sugar.
Whisk everything together, then add the sliced fennel, apple and peas . Coat it well with the vinaigrette and place it in a serving dish
Use a potato peeler to shave the parmesan over the salad, and finish with the parsley
Serve the lamb shanks (whole or portioned) on a bed of mashed potato with plenty of sauce and serve the Fennel, Apple and Pea Salad on the side.
Suzette Els' delicious leg of lamb
1 Leg of lamb
Salt, pepper and garlic cloves (peeled) Rosemary
Frozen peas (500ml)
1-2 spring onions
250ml Apple Juice
Juice of 1 lemon (Lemon peel grated)
Spread coarse salt and pepper over leg of lamb. Make a few holes with a sharp knife and place whole cloves of garlic in each.
Cut apples into quarters and place in ovenproof dish.
Add frozen peas.
Finely chop spring onions and fennel and sprinkle over apples with a little rosemary.
Place leg of lamb on top in an ovenproof dish.
Mix apple juice, lemon juice and lemon peel and pour over leg of lamb.
Bake in oven at 220 oC for 30 minutes until lamb is browned. Lower oven to 150 oC and bake for about 45 minutes or until cooked through.
Madeleine Mitchell's baked lamb with baby potatoes, apples and lemon juice
(Enough for 4 - 6 servings)
6 lamb chops
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
juice and grated peel of 2 lemons
500 g baby potatoes, peeled and cooked until soft
2 apples cut into wedges
1 x Fennel bulb
salt and freshly ground black pepper
45 ml olive oil
Preheat oven to 200 °C. Place the chops in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the fennel bulb, rosemary, garlic, lemon juice and zest on top. Placek the peeled potatoes on top. Crumble feta and toss on top of everything and season well with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with olive oil. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Cook the peas in a pot with a little sugar syrup next to it.
Serve hot with a nice glass of red wine