A swaggie (swagman) is someone who carries a swag (all his worldly possessions)
on his back and roams around the country on foot, living off his earnings, doing
odd jobs here and there, and from gifts of money and food. This inexpensive cut
of lamb is one a swaggie might be given and is a real treat when cooked this way
and served sitting around a campfire under the stars in the Australian bush. It
is more likely, though, that a swaggie would use beer rather than wine. This tastes
better when cooked in a camp oven (a heavy cast iron pot with a lid) over an open
fire and then finished, clamped in a grill (broil) rack, over the coals until the
outsides are crisp and golden. You will need to begin making this dish two days
ahead of serving.
6 lamb shanks
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
3 fresh parsley sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 head garlic, cut in half across the cloves
1 (2 inch long) piece ginger root, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 bottle red wine
Arrange the shanks in a large, shallow baking dish. Scatter the vegetables,
herbs, garlic, ginger root and peppercorns over the top. Pour in the oil and
the wine. Turn the shanks over in the marinade to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Transfer the shanks to a cast iron Dutch oven with a lid and pour the marinade
evenly over the top. Cover and bake in the center of the oven until fork tender,
about 2 hours. During cooking, turn the shanks over from time to time.
Remove from the oven and let cool, then refrigerate overnight in the marinade.
Drain the shanks over a pot, catching the marinade. Place the marinade over
medium-high heat and cook until reduced to a good coating consistency. Arrange
the shanks on a griller (broiler) tray and slip under the broiler. Broil until
glazed and crisp, about 5 minutes, then turn and grill until glazed and crisp
on the second side and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Serve the shanks at once with the reduced sauce spooned around them.