Anyway, all this botanical talk is leading towards one thing and that is...a comfort food recipe. This is the type of dish you want to let braise for half a day, fill the house with lovely smells and to devour when the weather is as cold as it has been this weekend.
The key to this dish being a huge success is to use meat from a good local source, only use wine you would be happy to drink yourself and very sloooooow braising/cooking.
for four adults
1 tbsp olive oil
4 lamb shanks
3 carrots peeled and sliced
1 large onion chopped
1 stick celery washed and chopped
1/4 bottle of drinkable red wine
3 sprigs fresh thyme
sea salt and black pepper
1 tbsp apple mint or redcurrant jelly
1 tbsp cornflour - mixed with 2 tbsp water
fresh chopped parsley
2. Add the vegetables to the pan and stir and season with salt, pepper and thyme sprigs. Pre heat the oven to 160C fan.
3. Put the lamb shanks on top of the vegetables and cover with about 1/4 bottle of red wine. Bring to the boil on top of the stove and then cover with a lid.
4. Cook in a moderate oven 160C fan for 2.5 to 3 hours. You will need to judge the cooking time by the size of the lamb shanks.
5. Once the lamb is cooked through remove from the gravy and vegetables. Add either the mint jelly or redcurrant jelly and adjust the seasoning season to taste.
6. Add the casserole back on the stove top and on a moderate heat add the cornflour/water mix to thicken the gravy. Let this bubble for a few minutes, add the lamb back in.
7. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, more seasonal vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes.