Oh SHANKS! It’s winter!

9 Dec

Not one of my favourites when you live in the UK… It starts when you realise you are one of the few households in London with such  an old boiler that it doesn’t have a self timer and when you wake up in the morning, it looks like you are on the set of “Sleepy Hollow” with all the mist in the room created from your breathing… Yup, that’s winter for you! The only answer I have to that is my mother’s wisdom… warm food! Always food! Combine that with my lion cub studying ( also picture a big bear with a thorn in his paw and its cartoon-like facial expression) and still the best option to take away grumpiness, cold and frustration = Roast.

I remember when I studied, my mother used one of her many special powers – treats and our favourite food. Since the naughty lion cub took it upon himself to go “treat” shopping, which I don’t have to tell you involves a lot of sugar, I took it upon myself to make sure he had a nice, cosy and heartwarming meal. Now one thing I can say is that the british aren’t too adventurous when it comes to cooking meat. They stick to the more well known cuts of meat, this is why I think if you steer away from the well known cuts, you might just pick up some top quality meat for a great price!

On the other hand… I do like a challenge. Ever had pork shanks? Me neither! So.. walking along in the supermarket, I found a pack of pork shanks for a very good price, so why not? If Lamb shank is delicious why not pork? It is all in the imagination and then preparation. Whenever I am in doubt with meat.. I use alcohol. Yes, alcohol! You can never go wrong. It makes all meat tender and tasty 🙂 So while the lion cub was busy with his daily dose of studying, I got on with my preparation of our shank roast.. let me tell you, it warded off the winter blues if only for a short while! Nothing can beat a heartwarming roast 🙂

pork shanks

2 pork shanks, skin scoured

1 pint of Strongbow or apple cider

3 teaspoons of chopped garlic

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of season all spice ( or chicken spice)

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 pinch of black pepper

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 apple, roughly chopped in slices

1 leek, chopped

handful of mushrooms, roughly chopped

2 handfuls of freshly chopped coriander

1 big carrot, finely chopped ( food processor)

 

Preheat your oven to 200 C.  Mix all the spices, garlic and olive oil together. Rub this into the scoured shanks. Make sure it is rubbed in thoroughly into the shanks. Place your chopped leeks, apple and mushrooms in the bottom of your roasting tray.

pork shanks1

Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and scatter around 1 handful of the coriander. Place the shanks on top.

pork shanks2

Now place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter the chopped carrots and remaining coriander  around the shanks. Pour over your cider. Turn the oven down to 190 and cook the shanks for 2 1/2 hours or until it is falling off the bone. Do set a timer to baste the shanks with the juices.

pork shanks3

That’s it! No fuss! Serve it with roasted potatoes, mash, rice or anything you fancy. I made some polenta with soya cream and coriander. What a hearty meal! I hope you enjoy it!

pork shanks4

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