Do you wanna build a snowman?
About a week ago, we spent the weekend up in Blue Mountains hoping that we get to experience a white winter for our Christmas in July party. The Snow Queen must have heard our cry and welcomed us with a heavy dump of snow that weekend and the whole place turned into a magical hinterland. We don’t get to see snow very often here in Australia, so it was a very special moment that we actually got to experience it. We actually didn’t do much that weekend but just huddled around the fireplace, looked out the window and mesmerised by the snowflakes falling from the sky.
This winter has definitely sent me into hibernation mode and I actually don’t feel motivated to do anything at all! Plus, I am still trying to get over my holiday blues, so I’ve been pretty much staying at home, trying to catch up with work, go to gym, entertain The Pom and the little Amelie. Very domestic. Don’t get me wrong though, I actually really enjoying it, able to chill out at home a little bit before I get swamped with works and travels again. So most weekends, you will find me on the couch, playing catch up on TV. I actually watched 4 episodes of Game of Thrones in one day! Phwoar, my head exploded!
And there is nothing better than a bowl of hearty meal right in front of you during TV marathon. Anything braised is the perfect winter comfort food. Boeuf Bourguignon is one, a bowl of hot curry laksa is another, or this delicious lamb shank pie. It is comforting, is a hearty, and is a little bit fancy. Fancy enough to have friends over for a movie night and impress them with it. And they will all think you should be on Masterchef! Well, that’s what I’ve been told. LOL!
- 4 lamb shanks
- 4 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 40 g (11/2 oz) butter
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 onions, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) veal stock
- about 375 ml (13 fl oz/11/2 cups) red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
- 4 sheets puff pastry
- 1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
- Dust the lamb shanks with the flour, and shake off any excess flour. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium–high heat and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. Remove and set aside.
- Melt the butter in the same pot, then add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes until caramelised. Pour in the veal stock to deglaze the pot, then return the lamb shanks to the pot. Pour in enough red wine until the lamb shanks are fully submerged (you’ll need about half a bottle of wine, perhaps a bit more). Add the bay leaves and thyme, turn the heat down to low and braise the lamb shanks for 2 hours, or until the meat falls off the bone.
- Remove the lamb shanks from the pot and shred the meat off the bones, then return the meat to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley and mix well. Set the bones aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Divide the lamb stew among 4 heatproof bowls, then insert a lamb bone upright in the centre of each bowl.
- Make a small hole in the centre of each pastry sheet, just big enough for the bone to slide through, then line up the hole over the bone and gently lower the pastry onto the bowl. Fold the corners of the pastry inward towards the bone, then pinch the pastry along the rim of the bowl to seal. Brush the pastry with the egg wash, then bake for 20–25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.