Braised Lamb Shanks with Garlic and Port
5 cups flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 lamb shanks
3 tbsp oil
4 whole heads garlic smashed (use garlic oil if LOW FODMAP)
2 shakes of tomato paste
1 & 1/2 cups red wine
1 cup port
2 sprigs rosemary, stalks removed and leaves chopped
2 cups beef or lamb stock
Preheat your camp oven or potjie. Coat shanks in flour, salt and pepper. Heat the oil in your potjie and brown the shanks in batches.
Transfer meat to a large dish. Add garlic and tomato paste to pan juices along with the remaining ingredients and bring to a fast simmer.
Stir well regularly, and then return meat to potjie. Simmer for a min. 2.5 hours.
CAMP OVEN EXTRA TIP: TEMPERATURE CONTROL
Exactly how hot is your camp oven? If you don’t have a thermometer to check it out, try this simple trick:
Take a piece of newspaper or paper towel and drop it in (onto a trivet, so it isn’t sitting on the bottom which is sitting on hot coals) and allow it to cook for five minutes. Its condition after that time will give you a fair idea of temperature:
• If the paper is black and smoking, the oven is too hot.
• If the paper is dark brown, the oven is very hot (230 degrees C).
• If the paper is light brown, the oven is hot (200 degrees C).
• If the paper is yellowish, the oven is moderate (180 degrees C)
A ‘very hot’ oven of about 230 degrees C will char things to an inedible blackened crisp. For food requiring short cooking times or for browning, such as pizza, biscuits or pies, a hot oven of about 200 degrees C works well, with the majority of coals on top.
The most common temperature required in camp oven cooking is what would be called a moderate oven, with a temperature of about 180 degrees C. For stews and casseroles, you want a ‘slow’ oven – about 150 degrees C. The biggest mistake most people make is making their oven too hot, while a common mistake is having too much heat underneath, especially with flat-bottomed ovens. Place half a shovel of coals on the ground so it’s not on a cold surface and place as many as you need on top. When you check the food inside, be quick as hot air rises.
Check damper after, say, 20 minutes and a bake after 30 minutes. Any time you have to remove the lid, even partially, rotate as you put it back on to make sure it’s seated properly and the heat can’t escape.
Remember, when cooking outside there are many environmental factors which will change the outcomes from day to day. Wind will blow heat away, cooler ambient temperature, humidity variations, and the size of a fire nearby will all have an influence, so check your food and be prepared to vary cooking times to suit. If the day is windy or cool, you can assist by digging a shallow hole, deep enough for your lower coals to sit in, to shelter them from the air movement when you place your oven on top.