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The Galley Guys are dedicated to the pursuit of happiness through the pleasure of connecting with good friends over great times centered around yachting and dining together on board.

We all have our favorite meals and perhaps you have something special you like to make when you’re on board. This time, the Galley Guys went with John Armstrong’s favorite meal. He decided he wanted to treat us to the rich and delicious flavor of braised Lamb Shanks on a bed of German Spaetzle and covered with a flavorful onion garlic sauce.

John has always had an affection for lamb and over the past decade he has searched out and tried probably a dozen recipes - this is none of those.

John’s recipe is an amalgamation of the best from all the lamb recipes and he is sharing this with the other Galley Guys and our readers. We appreciate the generosity!

Understandably, a great meal is a perfect way to cap off a great day on the boat, but sometimes, preparing a great meal takes enough time and energy that it spoils the great day! The answer is to have a meal that you can make ahead and then swiftly and elegantly finish off and serve on the boat.

Being able to make this ahead was especially valuable because we had been invited to join friends on board their boat and we wanted to minimize the mess onboard.

We had been invited to join Scott Addison and his charming wife Allison on board their Sea Ray 540 sedan Bridge at the Port Credit Yacht Club. There’s an interesting story behind their boat.

An experienced water skier and cottage boater, Scott explained to us that they made the decision to sell the cottage in favor of keeping a big boat in a super convenient yacht club location close to their home. They found that the logistics of 2 executive careers, (Allison is with Royal Le Page real estate) children with a wide range of interests, a large dog [that figures prominently in this story] and other factors made getting to the cottage a challenge.

With such a magnificent big boat moored only minutes from home, now everybody can get together easily and on their schedule. What makes the story fun is that they have never owned anything bigger than a cottage ski boat. The jump to a 54 footer as their first cruiser is pretty impressive!

On the other hand, it was obvious that they have picked it up and embraced cruising lifestyle with impressive ease. There has to be a positive lesson in this. Maybe it’s carpe diem?

Being new to the boating scene and the yacht club, it sometimes takes people a while to get to know other people, but that’s where the dog comes in. Not long after his first arrival, Duncan the German short haired pointer managed to escape onto the docks and in no time, became fast friends with Galley Guy John Armstrong.

It didn’t take long for everybody to meet everybody else and we wound up being invited to join Scott and Allison on board for dinner.

Rounding up some more friends, the Galley Guys were joined by Eddie Sokoloff of Churchill Cellars who worked his usual magic on food and wine pairings.

We all gathered round when Graham Toms from Paynes Marine Group dropped by with a brand-new Canadian-made Jackson Grills barbecue for the occasion.

Jackson Grills offers a range of products including luxurious outdoor kitchen components, high performance cart BBQ models and their award winning Versa Series portable grills. Based out of beautiful British Columbia, Canada, each Jackson Grills BBQ is factory tested to a strict quality control program and ours worked beautifully, right out of the box and it came with a universal adapter to fit where the old BBQ had been.

While the Lamb Shanks were being finished off in the new Jackson Grill we set the table while Eddie Sokoloff broke up some wonderful Parmesan cheese with a fork, served that with a baguette and paired it with a Blu Giovello Prosecco from Italy. What a way to get started!

Because John had marinated and prepared the Lamb Shanks before, and had partially cooked them, we only needed to fire up the grill for a short time, warming the Lamb Shanks thoroughly and filling the docks with the tantalizing aroma of the barbecued lamb in the brown sugar marinade.

Then, just one burner was all it took to prepare the German Spaetzle, boiling it in a large pot until al dente. The bacon and the measure of butter was then warmed up in a frying pan using the same burner, the Spaetzle drained and tossed with the bacon and butter.

Common sense and cholesterol counts are clearly not going to slow the galley guys down!

Next came a lightly wooded Chardonnay from Australia called “Stump Jump” that originates in the d’Arenberg area near Adelaide. That was a palate cleansing wine with some delicious baguette as we waited for the main course.

We set the table in the salon while John brought the Lamb Shanks in from the grill. We laid a bed of Spaetzle on each plate, added a lamb shank and then laddelled on a generous helping of John’s simply fabulous onion sauce.

For the main course, Eddie opened a Gran Feudo Tempranillo which was an ideal accompaniment to the Lamb and everyone had a fabulous meal except Greg Nicoll.

Somehow, just as the wonderful meal was coming to the table, Greg was stricken with a severe case of hiccups. Clearly this was spoiling Greg’s dinner and his evening as well, but Allison had a great home remedy solution.

In what seemed like only seconds, she got a tumbler of ice water and a paper towel. Taking Greg out onto the back deck, she told him to slowly drink the icy cold water, filtered through the paper towel. In short order, most of the glass was emptied and when Greg handed it back, Allison said, There, they’re gone aren’t they?

So, it was a great meal with a slight hiccup

We all went back to enjoying ourselves and Eddie had the perfect finish to the meal pairing a large bar of dark chocolate with his fabulous new sparkling Fresita, a strawberry infused Chilean wine that is refreshing, a little sweet and only 8% alcohol to keep things light and fun. It tastes like eating a chocolate dipped strawberry!

It was a very enjoyable evening dinner and a bit of education too!

JOHN’s LAMB SHANKS

Meat: 4-6 Lamb Shanks
Vegetables: 2 carrots, 3 celery stalks, 2 shallots, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 2 cups of sliced mushrooms, 1 bag of pearl onions
3/4 cup of red wine
3/4 cup of beef stock
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons tomato paste
splash of Worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons ilove oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups Spaetzle noodles
6 pieces of side bacon
Spices: 2 teaspoons each of thyme, rosemary, parsley, chili powder, plus salt and pepper
2 tablespoons honey

1. Defrost 4-6 lamb shanks, rub them with brown sugar and sprinkle with a generous amount allspice, put in plastic bag and refrigerate over night.

2. Dice 2 carrots, 3 pieces of celery and 2 shallots and combine with 4 cloves of minced garlic and 2 cups of sliced mushrooms.

3. Combine 3/4 cup of red wine and ¾ cup of beef stock with 2 tbl Dijon mustard, 3 tbl tomato paste, splash of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbl of balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp each of thyme, rosemary, parsley, chili powder, 2 tbl honey, salt and pepper.

4. Boil and peel one bag of pearl onions

5. Put 3 tbl of olive oil in large pot and brown the shanks on all sides then put in slow cooker or Dutch oven.

6. Add the carrots etc to the large pot and sauté for 4-5 minutes.

7. Remove from pot and pour over shanks.

8. Add the pearl onions to the slow cooker or Dutch oven.

9. Add the wine etc to the pot bring to a simmer then pour over the shanks in the slow cooker or Dutch oven cook on low 3-4 hours.

10. Remove shanks and finish on BBQ, medium heat 20 minutes

11. Combine 3 TBL of flour with a small amount of cold water and add to sauce to thicken it.

12. Serve shanks and gravy over a bed of Spaetzle that has been boiled for about 15 minutes then drained and combined with butter and bacon pieces

13. Serve with crusty French bread and your wine of choice.

By Greg Nicoll, John Armstrong and Andy Adams