Sunday, May 19, 2019

Lamb Shanks with Leeks and Barley

The media is ablaze with theories on the conclusion of Game Of Thrones! Sunday's episode is the last after eight torrid seasons. As the series culminates, questions abound. Who will sit on the Iron Throne? Who will live or die? The fate of this imaginary realm will be decided once and for all.

To accompany the resulting mania, I plan to dish up a GOT worthy repast. It will have to include roasting meats. Some greens. And copious amounts of wine, the main quaff of the series .

Lamb shanks are deemed appropriate. They are large, albeit shaped like a mini leg of lamb. They turn deep brown in olive oil, are then covered with leeks, barley, umami paste and beer, before going into the oven for a slow roast. You ask umami paste? Yes it does exist on Amazon. But I make my own. It is quite a flavor bomb, a paste made with soy sauce, fish sauce, anchovies, tomato paste, garlic, mushrooms, miso paste and a few other spices. And you thought umami was just the fifth taste bud!

Wafting aromas tickle the palate. The roast gets a stir halfway through cooking to brown evenly. Leeks form a crisp crust and barley plumps up tender from the lamb juices. Roasting meets the carnivore standards, both in taste and color. May the games begin.

Serves 4

4 Lamb Shanks
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Leeks
3/4 cup Pearl Barley
2 teaspoons Umami Paste (recipe below)
1 160z dark Beer
2-3 cups Water
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper

Makes 1/2 cup

2 Anchovies
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Tomato paste
2 teaspoons Fish Sauce
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons Olive oil
4 Garlic cloves, minced
4 Shitaki Mushroom, minced
1 teaspoon white Miso Paste
1 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
A pinch of crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Blend all the above ingredients in a food processor till smooth.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Place an ovenproof Dutch oven on a high flame.

Add olive oil.

Pat lamb shanks dry and add to hot oil. 

Sear lamb on all sides. The shanks should be deep brown.

Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oven to 325F.

Wash leeks to remove any grit. Chop into chunks.

When lamb has browned, add leeks, barley and umami paste.

Pour in the beer and bring to a boil. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan into the sauce.

Add between 2 and 3 cups water, enough to cover the shanks. 

Place shanks into the oven and cook for 2-3 hours till shanks are tender.

Halfway through give the shanks a stir and return to the oven.

Poke shanks with a knife to check if they are tender.

Serve with sauteed greens. 

Use a fork and knife or eat GOT style- with your hands!

Game time approaches. All senses are on high alert. Rumor mills are rife on the internet. We ignore them all to enjoy our hearty meal.Winter is over. 

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