Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks with Red Wine Sauce
A classic way to prepare shanks, these are slow cooked in a deeply flavoured red wine sauce until they are meltingly tender. You can't taste the red wine at the end, it completely transforms into a rich sauce. Make this in the oven, on your stove or even in a slow cooker - instructions provided for all!
- 4 lamb shanks , around 13 oz / 400g each (Note 1)
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil , separated
- 1 cup onion , finely diced (brown, yellow or white)
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 cup carrot , finely diced (Note 2)
- 1 cup celery , finely diced (Note 2)
- 2 1/2 cups / 625 ml red wine , full bodied (good value wine, not expensive! Note 3)
- 28 oz / 800g can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups / 500 ml chicken stock, low sodium (or water)
- 5 sprigs of thyme (preferably tied together), or 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 dried bay leaves (or 4 fresh)
- Mashed potato, polenta or pureed cauliflower
- Fresh thyme leaves, optional garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Pat the lamb shanks dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy based pot over high heat. Sear the lamb shanks in 2 batches until brown all over, about 5 minutes.
- Remove lamb onto a plate and drain excess fat (if any) from the pot.
- Turn the heat down to medium low. Heat remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in the same pot, if needed. Add the onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes.
- Add carrot and celery. Cook for 5 minutes until onion is translucent and sweet.
- Add the red wine, chicken stock, crushed tomato, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaves. Stir to combine.
- Place the lamb shanks into the pot, squeezing them in to fit so they are mostly submerged. (Note 1)
- Turn stove up, bring to a simmer. Cover, then transfer to the oven for 2 hours (see notes for other cook methods).
- Remove from oven, remove lid, then return to the oven for another 30 minutes (so 2 1/2 hours in total). Check to ensure lamb is tender - if not, cover and keep cooking. Ideal is tender meat but still holding onto bone.
- Remove lamb onto plate and keep warm. Pick out and discard bay leaves and thyme.
- Strain the sauce into a bowl, pressing to extract all sauce out of the veggies (Note 5 for repurposing the veggies). Pour strained sauce back into pot. Bring to simmer over medium heat and reduce slightly to a syrupy consistency (see video) - I rarely need to. Taste then add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the lamb shanks on mashed potato or cauliflower puree with plenty of sauce! Garnish with thyme leaves if desired.