Search This Blog

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lamb Shanks Slow Cooked over a Fire

Sometimes even well-laid plans come adrift. 

I have been wanting to try cooking lamb-shanks over a fire, so our holiday in the Drakensberg seemed like a good opportunity.  I stocked up on lamb-shanks for two, amongst other goodies, and off we went. One thing I forgot though - my big black flat bottomed cast iron pot.  Disaster!  How on earth was I going to cook two large, very awkardly shaped pieces of lamb, bone included?

Well, 'n boer maak a plan' as they say they the classics (in SA, anyway).  I did have a cast iron frying pan, and several tin-foil pie dishes, which I use when I'm making braai-packs.  So, we decided to fry everything up in the frying pan, and cook it in a tinfoil 'packet'.  And it came out so well, I want to try making it again - but maybe I'll use a pot this time!  Although - the clean-up was so easy,  all we had to do was chuck the tinfoil in the bin, and wash a few plates and things.

Here's the recipe, I hope you'll give it a try - when you have the leisure time to sit by the fire for the 3 to 4 hours this will take to cook!  Pour another drink, sit back and relax!

Lamb Shanks Cooked over a Fire

feeds 2 hungry adults (we ate late!)

2 lamb shanks
oil for frying
1 packet bacon braai rashers (thick cut bacon), sliced
1 large onion, sliced roughly
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 glass of red wine
1 tin of chopped tomatoes, with their juice
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Start by making a fire, and heating the oil in the pan/pot
  • Fry the lamb shanks until they are well-browned, then transfer them to a tinfoil dish

  • Add the bacon pieces and fry until all the fat is rendered, spoon them over the lambshanks

  • Fry the onions in the bacon fat, add the garlic when the onions are softened, and fry together
  • Add the glass of red wine, the tin of tomatoes, the sugar, rosemary, seasoning and mustard, and bring to the boil
  • Pour the tomato mixture over the meat

  • Wrap a large piece of tinfoil around the entire tray, and seal loosely
  • Place on the braai grid, and keep the flames small but steady

  • Cook for at least 3 hours (pour several more drinks), checking regularly, add a little water if needed
  • Serve on mash or polenta - we had ours on mushy veggies, one of my favourite braai dishes:  boil together peeled, chopped potatoes, onions and garlic, and mixed veggies (whatever you have on hand, butternut, broccoli, carrots, even a pack of frozen mixed veggies) until soft, drain well, add a heap of butter, salt and lots of freshly ground pepper, mash together.  Delicious, I promise!
And here's the result - gorgeously tender, melt-in-the-mouth pieces of lamb in a rich bacon/tomato/herby sauce.  YUM, pretty good braai food!


We had this dinner by candlelight in our caravan - I do love camping!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bread Rolls cooked over a fire

We're back from a wonderful week spent at Mahai Campsite in Royal Natal National Park in the Drakensberg Mountains - it was so peaceful, despite the fact that it rained for four days. We were forced to relax, which was good!

We did all our cooking over a braai-fire, even our bread (even if sometimes our fire was made under a beach umbrella), so I thought I'd share my favourite bread recipe with you, and the method for making bread-rolls over the coals.

Brown Seed Bread Rolls

3 1/2 cups of brown bread flour
1 sachet instant yeast (10 grs)
5 mls salt
1/2 cup of mixed seeds - I used poppy, sunflower, sesame and linseeds
30 mls syrup or honey or sugar
60 mls of oil
1 to 2 cups of luke-warm water

  • Mix together the dry ingredients
  • Add the honey and oil, stir slightly
  • Add the warm water slowly, while stirring, until the flour binds into a dough
  • Continue stirring with your spoon until the mixture is ready to tip out
  • Lightly flour a large bread board or clean table, and tip the dough out onto it
  • Knead gently but thoroughly until the dough is very smooth, and elastic when stretched

  • Lightly oil a clean bowl, and place your dough in it, cover with a clean cloth and set aside somewhere warm to rise
  • When the dough has doubled in size, knock it back, and press out flat until about 1 inch thick
  • Cut out circles with a glass or cookie cutter - don't make them too big, the dough should yield about 16 rolls
  • Flour the tops as well, and set aside, covered, to prove
  • Get the fire going, you will need a bed of of coals for a gentle heat

  • Place the rolls directly on the grid and allow to cook, turning them over frequently

  • The rolls are done when they sound hollow when tapped.
  • The whole process should take about 2 hours, and there is nothing as good as a hot bread roll baked over the coals!
Enjoy!  We had our hot bread rolls with some warmed-up left-over braaied kassler ribs - with plenty of mustard, these were the ultimate 'burger'!