SLOW COOKED LAMB SHANKS IN RED WINE SAUCE

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!

Ingredients
  1. 4 lamb shanks , around 13 oz / 400g each (Note 1)
  2. 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  3. 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil , separated
  4. 1 cup onion , finely diced (brown, yellow or white)
  5. 3 garlic cloves , minced
  6. 1 cup carrot , finely diced (Note 2)
  7. 1 cup celery , finely diced (Note 2)
  8. 2 1/2 cups / 625 ml red wine , full bodied (good value wine, not expensive! Note 3)
  9. 28 oz / 800g can crushed tomatoes
  10. 2 tbsp tomato paste
  11. 2 cups / 500 ml chicken stock, low sodium (or water)
  12. 5 sprigs of thyme (preferably tied together), or 2 tsp dried thyme
  13. 2 dried bay leaves (or 4 fresh)
TO SERVE:
  1. Mashed potato, polenta or pureed cauliflower
  2. Fresh thyme leaves, optional garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Pat the lamb shanks dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove lamb onto a plate and drain excess fat (if any) from the pot.
  5. 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.
  6. Add carrot and celery. Cook for 5 minutes until onion is translucent and sweet.
  7. Add the red wine, chicken stock, crushed tomato, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaves. Stir to combine.
  8. Place the lamb shanks into the pot, squeezing them in to fit so they are mostly submerged. (Note 1)
  9. Turn stove up, bring to a simmer. Cover, then transfer to the oven for 2 hours (see notes for other cook methods).
  10. 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.
  11. Remove lamb onto plate and keep warm. Pick out and discard bay leaves and thyme.
  12. 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.
  13. Serve the lamb shanks on mashed potato or cauliflower puree with plenty of sauce! Garnish with thyme leaves if desired.

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