Since I turned 40 last year and am now well on my way to being “middle aged”, the health benefits of Collagen have become a bit more relevant. Collagen is a natural protein found in the hides, connective tissue and bones of animals and also fish and shell-fish. It is an important part of human skin and gets depleted over time causing the look of aging in skin. Collagen keeps the elasticity in the skin which reduces wrinkles and keeps us looking youthful. It can also become depleted in joints causing arthritis like symptoms. We can replete Collagen in our skin and joints by taking supplemental forms of collagen and, best of all, by eating it. Once again the best concentrations of collagen comes in the cuts of meat that contain bones, especially a bone joint e.g. leg of lamb, beef short ribs, and, my favourite, lambs shanks! Long slow cooking of the connective tissue that holds the muscle on the bone melts the collagen out of the connective tissue making it easily digestible. I think its always nice to do something good for ourselves, especially if it keeps us looking young!
Try my “Life Begins at 40 Lamb Shanks” for a good dose of collagen.
Life Begins At 40 Lamb Shanks - Add the following ingredients to a slow cooker
- 4-6 lamb or hogget shanks – brown and put into a slow cooker
- 2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 onion browned
- 1 carrot diced
- 2-3 stalks of celery – leaves included
- 2-3 Tb plum jam
- 2-3 Tb tomato paste
- 1 C Red wine – deglaze the fry pan used to brown the lamb shanks and onion (simply pour into the hot pan and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of fry pan, then pour into the slow cooker.)
- 1 C liquid beef stock
- Zest and juice of a lemon
- Half a dozen prunes
- Cook on high in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Season to taste the sauce at the end of cooking. You can thicken with cornflour at this stage too if you like a thick gravy.
- Serve with rice, mashed potato or couscous and seasonal vegetables.
- Bon Appetit!