This is a perfect summer dish using more affordable cuts of local lamb, which is at the height of its season. It is best served as a starter or as part of a selection of small plates enjoyed with drinks.
The dish is comprised of braised lamb shanks, slow-cooked then stuffed inside a leaf of onion, served with a white onion puree and a green flavoursome herb-based dressing, girolle mushrooms, and crispy fregola.
2 lamb shanks
1500ml lamb stock
200ml red wine
3 cloves of garlic
Sprig of thyme
30g flat-leaf parsley
30g fresh mint
1 small handful of capers
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1tsp red wine vinegar
100ml quality rapeseed oil
Oil, butter ad salt and pepper for cooking
Sear the shanks in a deep heavy-based pan until dark brown, remove and set aside. Slice the carrots and 1 of the onions and add them to the lamb juices that have collected in the pan, along with the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme.
Add the wine and reduce slightly, followed by the stock, then finally the seared lamb shanks, ensuring they are completely covered by the stock.
Place the pot on a low heat or in an oven at 140c for 2-3 hours, or until the meat easily falls away from the bone.
Once the meat is cooked, strain the pot and place the liquid back on a high heat to reduce. Break the meat from the shanks into small pieces and add to the liquid when it becomes dark and slightly sticky.
Peel and slice 4 onions and gently sweat over a medium heat in a little butter, season with salt and allow to cook until the onions are very soft, trying not to colour. place the onions in a food processor and blend until a smooth puree is achieved, a splash of cream can be added if necessary.
Boil the fregola in water with a little salt until it is very soft then dry in a low oven, 90oc , until it is completely dry again. To crisp the fregola, fry in saucepan of very hot oil at least 2cm deep, add the fregola in small batches then transfer to a sheet of kitchen paper and season.
Using a very sharp knife, chop all of the fresh herbs finely a little at a time and add to a bowl, chop the capers and shallot, and add to the herbs along with the oil, vinegar and mustard. Check for seasoning and add more salt pepper or vinegar if needed.
Gently scrape the outer skin of the mushroom stalks using a small sharp knife then wash in a large bowl of cold water, ensuring the mushrooms do not get broken. Drain then allow to dry on a clean cloth.
Place the remaining onions in the oven keeping upright, for about 45mis at 190oc, until they are very soft. Allow to rest for around 10 minutes. Cut the onions from root to tip so that cup or shell-shaped layers of the inner onion can be removed, place a good spoonful of the warm lamb mixture into each cup and roll up into a teardrop shape. Dress with olive oil and a little salt and pepper then set aside. Fry the mushrooms in a little butter until soft and season.
On a warm plate place a spoonful of the onion puree followed by the stuffed onion shell. Coat the onion ravioli in a good layer of the salsa verde then add the mushrooms to finish, followed by the fregola.
Seventh generation Sichel brothers, Max and Alex have launched their own wine in a special project, the wine is made from organically grown Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Argadens vineyard in the south of the Bordeaux region. Aged in French oak barrels, there was no use of herbicides or chemical fertilizers.
The first-ever vintage of this wine is 2015, Les Jardiniers present himself with a deep ruby colour.
On the nose will carry intense and aromatic notes of black fruits with sweet spices coming through such as cinnamon and vanilla.
On the palate, the dry, medium-plus-bodied wine is smooth in texture with ripe, medium tannin and fine, notes of cassis, mint and cinnamon accompanied by a very nice balance with long aromatic persistence.
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