Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Succulent Roast New Zealand Lamb Shanks for early Easter Dinner

New Zealand Lamb, Easter Roast, Roast lamb Shanks

Me and hubby are meat lovers. Our favourite is red meat, although we don't eat them as often as white, which is much cheaper to buy. We do have red meat occasionally, but for special occasions, it has to be red, let it be a good piece of steak, or a lovely succulent lamb.

We were introduced to New Zealand Lamb last year, and it was one of the best roast lamb I've ever made and tasted. I used Heston Blumenthal's recipe and although it was a bit tedious to prepare, it really was amazing. The main thing is, the meat was really juicy and tender, even though it was hardly pink. I told myself to make it for our family next time, using the same New Zealand Lamb (with the quality logo). The opportunity never came, but now that we've moved to a bigger house, hopefully I can get the chance to show off my culinary skill to our family and friends!

Before I get to do so, New Zealand Lamb has already contacted me for another amazing Easter feast! They have kindly offered me vouchers to do a shopping, so that I can try out their new recipe that goes with their beautiful leg of lamb. Although I absolutely love Heston's recipe, I'm always open to new ones, as it could just be better than his!

Both Sainsbury's and Waitrose stock New Zealand Lamb logo leg of lamb, but both our local stores ran out of them! I guess they are very popular! Luckily Waitrose also stock other cuts, so i ended up with 2 boxes of New Zealand Lamb logo lamb shanks, hoping that it will work with the recipe. Did you know that no one roast lamb shanks? You either braise them or slow roast them in plenty of liquid. Good that I did a research while cooking and managed to come up with a solution to make this Easter roast recipe work, phew!

So on with the recipe - Easter Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb with Apricots, Walnuts and Almonds. I wasn't very sure about having apricots and fennel in the recipe, as I'm not really a fan of meat dishes that comes with a sweet sauce, and I've never tried fennel before. I admit that I made a beef granule gravy as a backup plan, in case the kids didn't like the lamb without gravy, but I didn't have to worry as the kids kept going back for seconds (the lamb)! The much easier to prepare recipe worked surprisingly well with the lamb, and we had an amazing early Easter dinner! If you fancy taking it easy for your Easter roast, this will be a great recipe to go for.

I decided to type out the recipe New Zealand Lamb sent me, as well as the version I did with adjusted amount of ingredients, so you can have a choice, and see what changes I made and tips I have. The purple words are my version.

New Zealand Lamb, Easter Roast, Roast lamb Shanks

Ingredients (serve 6):

2-2.5Kg Leg of New Zealand Lamb (chilled or thawed from frozen)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
Leaves from 15cm stalk of Rosemary, chopped
2tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves/ 1tsp dried thyme
2Tbsp Olive Oil
4 heads of Fennel, cut into 6 wedges each
2 bunches of Baby Carrots, skin scrubbed
10 Dried Apricots, halved
100g Whole Almonds
60g Walnut Pieces

Ingredients (serve 4):

4 New Zealand Lamb Leg Shanks (chilled)
4 cloves of Garlic, peeled and sliced
Leaves from 15cm stalk of Rosemary
2tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
2Tbsp Cooking Oil
2 heads of Fennel, cut into 6 wedges each
1 bunch of Carrots, cleaned and prepped (I prefer to remove the heads and peel them)
8 Dried Apricots, halved
50g Whole Almonds
70g Walnut Pieces
Salt and Pepper to season

Note (to self mainly): Do not coat carrots and fennel with oil. If you are worried that they'll dry out, you can baste them with the juice during cooking. Any extra oil will make the dish greasy (we could probably eat more if it wasn't because of that!)

New Zealand Lamb, Easter Roast, Roast lamb Shanks
Prepped too much carrots and fennel, so I've changed the amount on the recipe
1. Preheat oven to fan 180C
2. Mix the garlic, herbs and oil together, and season it with a good amount of salt and a bit of pepper
3. Mix the apricots and nuts together

New Zealand Lamb, Easter Roast, Roast lamb Shanks

4. Place the leg of lamb/ lamb shanks in a large roasting tin, and poke holes (12 holes for the leg of lamb, and 6 to 9 in each lamb shanks) into the flesh with a small sharp knife
5. Poke the herbs from step 2 into the holes (and garlic if you can), then rub the rest over the leg/ shanks.
6. If you like your lamb a bit more seasoned like me, give them another good sprinkle with salt and/ or pepper
7. Place in the centre of the oven and roast the leg of lamb for 45 minutes/ shanks for 40 minutes. After the first 20 minutes, add 100ml of water to prevent the garlic from burning.

New Zealand Lamb, Easter Roast, Roast lamb Shanks

8. Add the carrots and fennels to the roasting tin, and turn the leg of lamb over to roast for another 30 minutes.
8. Add 100ml extra water to the tin, then add the carrots and fennels. Without turning the shanks (you can I suppose), cover the tin losely with a large piece of kitchen foil, then roast them for another 40 minutes.

New Zealand Lamb, Easter Roast, Roast lamb Shanks

9. Remove the leg of lamb, add the fruits and nuts into the tin, then replace the lamb, again turned over, and put back in the oven. Cook for another 15 to 25 minutes depending on the size for a medium cooked lamb.
9. Remove the kitchen foil, add the fruits and nuts around the lamb shanks, and put it back in the oven for 15 minutes for still slightly pink lamb shanks.

New Zealand Lamb, Easter Roast, Roast lamb Shanks

10. Remove the leg of lamb from the roasting tin and sit it on a plate loosely covered with foil and tea towel, and rest it in a warm place for at least 15 minutes.
10. Remove the tin from the oven and cover it loosely with the kitchen foil again to let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

New Zealand Lamb, Easter Roast, Roast lamb Shanks

New Zealand Lamb, Easter Roast, Roast lamb Shanks
Boiled potatoes coated in garlic and herb butter
And dinner is served! I was really worried that the lamb shanks wouldn't work, but they do! Just make sure you remove the tough fatty layer that covers the meat before giving it to children as they can't quite chew through it.

Hope you'll enjoy this easy yet different recipe as much as we did!