2 leeks (trimmed halved and finely sliced, optional)
1 cup bacon lardons
For the lamb shanks preheat the oven to 120°C. Remove any excess fat from the shanks. Cut around the very top of the shank. This allows the meat fall down the bone during cooking. Season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan until hot and add olive oil. Sear each lamb shank until brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.
To a heavy based saucepan/tray add the carrots, celery, leek, onions, garlic and herbs and cook over a high heat until all the vegetables are browned. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and reduce by two thirds. Add the lamb shanks and the stock. The stock should cover the shanks by about three quarters.
Cover the pot and place in the oven for 3-4 hours. The lamb shanks are cooked when the meat has fallen away from the top of the bone. You can taste the meat also. When it is succulent and juicy it is ready. Take the shanks out and set aside. Strain the cooking liquor through muslin for a really smooth sauce.
For the sauce: Fry the bacon until crispy and add the carrot, celery and onion. Fry until the vegetables have softened then add the herbs. Add the reserved cooking liquor and reduce until a nice sauce consistency has been reached. The sauce should have a really shiny glaze and should coat the back of a spoon. This should take 30 minutes approximately. Strain the sauce through muslin once again into a clean pan. Leave aside covered with cling film to stop a skin forming.
For the vegetables cut the carrots, parsnips and turnips into manageable sections 3cm x 3cm. Using a turning knife turn the vegetables into eight sided elliptical shapes. This takes a while to master so you could also cut the vegetables into squares. When the vegetables are ready cook them in salted water until cooked. Set aside and keep warm.
For the colcannon mash, put the bacon into a pan and fry gently until the bacon is brown and crispy. Add the leeks and cabbage and continue to cook. After a few minutes add a cup of water and continue to cook on a low heat until all the water has evaporated and the cabbage is tender. Cook the potatoes without their skins until they are cooked, pass the spuds through a potatoes ricer to give a really smooth finish. Add the mash to the cooked vegetables as well as the butter and the milk/cream.
Stir until the mash has reached the desired consistency. You may want to add more milk/cream to the mixture depending how much of a puree you want to make. Season generously, as potatoes need a lot of salt and pepper.
Pan fry the turned vegetables to achieve a nice colour. Do this with a really hot frying pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes on all sides. Set aside for plating
To serve: Take the lamb shanks and glaze them with a spoonful of the sauce. Place into the oven for another 5 minutes. Place a good spoonful of the colcannon into the centre of a large bowl. Take the lamb shanks out of the oven and place the shank on top of the colcannon. Spoon the sauce over the shanks and around the colcannon. Dot the seared turned vegetables around the colcannon.