Mmmmmn, lamb shanks!

Slow cooked lamb shanks

I don’t usually buy lamb shanks. Actually, last week was probably the second time I’ve bought them in my married life as they were on a ‘Manager’s special’ at the supermarket. They’re one of Hubby’s favourite cuts of meat and although I had no idea what recipe I was going to use, I knew he would appreciate a hearty tasty meal after a super busy week of work and travel.

Now, I’m a big fan of Chelsea Winter. Her recipes are super tasty, not overly complicated and on the whole, use ingredients that most foodies would have in their cupboards. It just so happened that Chelsea shared a lamb shank recipe the day I got home from the supermarket – perfect!

Minus the wine, I pretty much followed the recipe exactly. (I’m not suggesting you leave out the wine, the only reason I didn’t put it in is that this breastfeeding mum doesn’t have a huge stock of wine on hand, but trust me, if I did, it would have been in there!). I cooked my shanks in the slow cooker rather than in the oven and as I didn’t start the browning and sauteeing process until after midday (once the babies were in bed) I used the high setting for the first two hours and then turned it to low until we ready to eat (about another 4 hours), by the end the lamb was falling off the bone. I didn’t strain the gravy, we love the chunky vegies!

The shanks were delicious. Melt in your mouth, rich, tasty, hearty, meaty goodness, served on mashed kumura to soak up the sauce, with beans and broccoli on the side. We enjoyed the leftovers again tonight and they were even better than the first time!

This would be a good recipe for your Sunday night, or perhaps even a family Mother’s day meal 🙂

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks (Chelsea Winter)

4-5 large lamb shanks
Grape seed or rice bran oil, for frying
3 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 shallots, chopped
7 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups red wine (any kind)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 bunch thyme, leaves finely chopped
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
1 1/2 cups lamb stock (or use 1/2 beef 1/2 chicken)
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
2 bay leaves (fresh if you can find them)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
25g butter
Chopped fresh parsley, to serve

Preheat the oven to 140c conventional bake.

Bring the shanks out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before frying if you can.

Cut through the tendon that connects the meat to the bone at the bottom of the shank – this will allow the meat to bunch up nicely. Season the shanks generously with salt and pepper.

Heat a large frying pan over a very high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of grape seed or rice bran oil, then brown the shanks a couple at a time, turning until really dark brown all over (browning creates a great depth of flavour you get once they’re cooked). Set the shanks aside in a large casserole dish (or a slow cooker).

Reduce the heat to medium and add the olive oil, butter, onions, carrot, celery, garlic and shallots to the same frying pan. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes until the veges are golden and soft.

Turn up the heat to high, add the wine, bring to a rapid simmer and let it bubble for 30 seconds or so to burn off the alcohol.

Add the tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, lamb (or other) stock, tomatoes, cayenne pepper, bay leaves and sugar to the pan and stir to combine. Pour or spoon carefully over the shanks. Cover with the lid (or 2 layers of tinfoil) and bake in the oven for 4 hours (or about 8 hours in the slow cooker on low), spooning cooking liquid over the shanks every now and then. The meat should be almost falling off the bone by the end.

Gently remove the shanks using tongs or a large spoon (careful as they will be very delicate) and set aside in a dish covered in foil (at 50c in the oven if you want them to stay warm).

Strain the cooking liquid and veges through a colander/sieve into a large saucepan (you don’t have to strain it if you like a chunky sauce). Discard the veges but keep any bits of meat. How much cooking liquid you have leftover depends on how much steam evaporated during cooking. There’s no right or wrong amount.

Add the butter to the sauce and boil for about 10 minutes to reduce slightly, or until it’ a nice pouring sauce. You may need to add 2-3 tsp cornflour mixed with 1/4 cup water to thicken it up.

Season to taste with salt and cracked pepper.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: