The aromatic leaf from the bay laurel tree, it is an essential component of the classic bouquet garni: parsley, thyme and a bay leaf.
The bittersweet, spicy leaves impart their pungent flavour to a variety of dishes and ingredients, making the bay leaf a versatile ingredient. It’s also one of the few herbs that doesn’t lose its flavour when dried.
How to store Bay Leaves:
Wrap the fresh bay leaf in a paper towel. Place the wrapped leaf in a plastic food storage bag and seal. Put the plastic bag in the fridge, it will last about a week. Do not freeze a fresh bay leaf.
Lamb Shanks in Red Wine
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 lamb shanks
1 leek, roughly chopped
4 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 carrots, unpeeled, roughly chopped
2 onions, unpeeled, roughly chopped
1 garlic bulb, unpeeled, roughly chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
250ml/9fl oz red wine
150ml/5½fl oz port
500ml/1pint 2fl oz chicken stock
- Preheat the oven to 150C.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a casserole and fry the lamb shanks, one at a time, for 2-3 minutes, turning regularly, until browned all over. Remove from the dish and repeat with the remaining lamb shanks.
- Add the vegetables to the casserole and fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary. Return the lamb shanks to the casserole and pour over the wine, port and stock.
- Cover the casserole with a lid and cook in the oven for 2-3 hours, or until the lamb shanks are very tender.
- To serve, remove the lamb shanks from the casserole and place onto serving plates. Strain the liquid from the casserole into a jug and serve it alongside.