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Celebrate Easter and the coming of spring with a delicious lamb shank, paired with chimichurri, champ mash and pea fricassée.
A crowd-pleasing special from Head Chef Rory at The Anchor Inn in Lower Froyle, Hampshire that is as cosy and comforting as it is seasonal.
Pre-heat oven to 160°C.
On the stove, heat an oven-proof large pan/pot (with a lid) until it's smoking hot. Meanwhile, season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper, add a drizzle of oil to the hot pan and then put the shanks in the pot. Seal the shanks making sure you get even colouring on all.
Then remove the shanks from the pan and add all of the vegetables and herbs, season and cook for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables are nicely browned. Add the lamb shanks back into the pan and deglaze the pan with the white wine (the wine will lift the caramelised flavour on the bottom of the pan, use your utensil to help scrape it loose). Now, lower the heat to medium and reduce the wine by half, keep turning the shanks every few minutes. Add the lamb stock to cover the shanks, bring it up to a simmer and check the seasoning. Then put the lid on the pan and place it in the pre-heated oven to cook for 2 ½ -3 hours.
For the chimichurri sauce, slice the chillies lengthways, deseed and dice as finely as possible. Heat the red wine vinegar in a pan, then dice the red onions salt and add the hot red wine vinegar. Leave for at least 10-15 minutes. Chop all the herbs and then mix with chillies, pickled onions (not using all the vinegar). Check the seasoning, add the olive oil and mix altogether and set your sauce aside.
Remove the lamb from the oven. Check lamb is soft and tender. Leave to rest for around 20 minutes in the pot with the lid on.
Meanwhile, place your potatoes in cold salted water and then cover and put on a medium heat. Once they're cooked, drain the potatoes in a colander leaving them in there to steam-dry for a few minutes but don't let them go cold. Meanwhile heat your butter, cream and milk in a pan. Mash your potatoes using a masher or ricer and then add the cream, butter and milk. Check seasoning and finish with the finely chopped herbs and spring onions.
Heat a medium sized pan. Cut the baby gem in half lengthways and remove most of the core (leaving just enough to hold it together). Season the baby gem with salt and pepper and then using a little bit of butter, fry the flat side of the baby gem until golden brown. Remove from the pan. Put the peas and about 200ml of the lamb cooking liquor and butter into the pan bring up to a simmer for 2 minutes then add the baby gem (halves and chopped outer leaves) for a final minute. Now you are ready to serve.
Smack in the heart of shooting country, just two minutes' drive from the A31 between Farnham and Alton, the Anchor is an idyllic country inn surrounded by sweeping fields in all directions - this is one of Hampshire's best kept secrets and once you visit you will want to keep it that way!