Today is Mum and Dad’s anniversary, so as my gift to them I told them to choose the recipe of their choice from any one of my many fine leather-bound recipe books on my mahogany book shelf, and Chef Crusoe would make it.
They picked ‘Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks with Prunes‘.
I don’t know what the heck prunes are, but they sound gross.
Anyway, Mum and Dad are lucky I’m generous enough to cook solely for them, because if I were eating this too I would disregard such an ingredient.
That being said, as a chef I will indubitably need to taste-test my food as I prepare it, and I must say, those giant lamb shanks have already caught my eye!
As you can see, we have quite a few ingredients to work with on this one, so try to stay with me.
Step 1: Open the Wine
Next to the lamb, the wine was the second thing to grab my eye.
Even though the recipe only calls for wine in step 3, every good chef knows that opening the wine is step #1.
(Just make sure you leave enough for the actual recipe! ; )
Step 2: Read the Recipe
We want to make sure we have all the ingredients and be prepared for the steps we’re going to follow (and disregard).
Normally I’m not an advocate of following recipes, but then again, “I’m not cooking for myself today”.
Step 3: Prepare the Ingredients
This is where I would have liked to have an inferior cook such as my brother Oakley or Mum help out, but since this is my gift to Mum and Dad, I’m taking care of everything tonight.
Here’s what I’m doing in this step:
- Prune the cubes – er, I mean cube the prunes.
- Finely slice the shallots (which seems to be a fancy term for small onions). Being the macho man I am, I like to limit my crying to only very specific situations. So if you’re at all like me, you may wish to wear some goggles (snorkel optional).
- Then finish up by finely chopping the garlic.
Step 4: Combine all the Gross-Looking Liquids into the Crock Pot
I could barely do this step without gagging. Seriously, just imagine all these foul smelling and distasteful looking ingredients all sloshed together:
- 2 tbsp of cornstarch.
- 20 pitted pruned cubes.
- 2 tbsp vinegar.
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard.
- 1 squeaky ball – “hey, I have no idea how that got in there…“
Phew – glad we got that part over with.
Step 5: Let’s See…
Ah yes – now we need to brown the shanks in the pan.
I don’t mean to brag (actually I kind of do), but being the great chef I am, I can afford to cook with such nonchalance as this…
Truth is, I have to resist looking at those juicy brown shanks directly or I could quickly become the victim of temptation.
That goes for all types of shanks, if you catch my drift. ; )
Step 6: Add the Onions, Garlic, Star Anise, and Honey to the Pan
Now, I discovered I was missing the star anise, but I don’t know what the heck that is anyway, so it probably doesn’t matter.
Once we mix all those together, we add the port wine and let that simmer down a bit. The rest of the bottle is yours to enjoy.
Step 7: Add Everything From the Pan into the Slow-Cooker
Step 8: Now We Play the Waiting Game…
Yep… now we have to wait a whole 8 hours for our concoction to meld together. In the meantime, you may consider more alcohol.
I on the other hand, will probably play with my toys.
Now where did that squeaky ball go I had…
Step 9: Prepare the Potatooooooes
This is a good next step after all the wine, because coordinatation is not required to mash potatoes. In fact, the sloppier you are the better!
Don’t forget to put some muscle into it! Every good student of Chef Crusoe knows to always be flexin’.
Step 10: Ta-Da!
Take the meaty slop from the slow cooker and slop it onto the potato slop!
Ta da – impeccable presentation!
I have to say, it looks a lot better coming out of the pot than into the pot!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to do some taste-testing before I hand this over to Mum and Dad. Plus, I think there’s a squeaky ball in there somewhere that I should probably find before someone chokes..
Step… I Don’t Know – With All This Wine, Who’s Counting Anymore?
So happy anniversary to Mum and Dad. I told them to just enjoy their romantic dinner together and not to mind me… I wouldn’t want to interrupt their time together.
But if they slip a few pieces of that fall-off-the-bone lamb shank my way (hold the prunes), I won’t complain.
More wine anyone?
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