When the weather starts to change, my cooking style also changes… We eats less grilled meat, less salads and a lot more stews and soups. And one of the dishes that I’ve been waiting to cook is braised lamb shanks in red wine sauce. During Summer, I don’t really like to have the oven on for hours, too much heat already, no need to ad more to it… So when the weather gets a little bit cooler, my oven starts working a lot more and dishes like this show up on the table. The problem I’m having at the moment is that the weather here is not getting any cooler!!! There’s rain every so often but cold… no! So I just have to think that it’s December, it’s almost Christmas and I feel like eating braised lamb shanks in red wine sauce!
The shank is the bottom part of the rear legs of the sheep and it’s much tougher than the rest of the leg; and therefore needs to be cooked longer. When we look at the shanks we can see that there is a lot of connective tissue there, and it is this that takes time to break down. If you haven’t cooked this cut of meat before don’t be scared – these tough tissues will becomes wonderfully soft and it is very easy to cook. All you need is a little time…
Braised lamb shanks in red wine sauce
- 2 lamb shanks 500g each
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil as needed
- 1/2 cup of onion finely diced
- 1/2 cup carrot finely diced
- 1/2 cup celery finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 cups red wine full bodied
- 400 g can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup of beef stock
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 dried bay leave
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Pat the lamb shanks dry and sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt and black pepper.
- Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a dutch oven over high heat.
- Sear the lamb shanks until brown all over, about 5 mins.
- Remove lamb onto a plate and drain excess fat from the pan.
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in the same pot. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Sauté for 10 mins until the onion is translucent.
- Add the red wine and turn up the heat. Bring it to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to mix all the brown bits into the wine. Simmer for 3 mins to evaporate the alcohol a bit.
- Add the remaining ingredients , season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Place the lamb shanks into the pot, squeezing them in to fit so they are mostly submerged.
- Bring back up to simmer, cover, then transfer to the oven for 2 hrs.
- After 2 hrs, turn the lamb shanks. Cover and return to the oven for another 30 mins.
- After this time the lamb should be very tender, the meat above the sauce should be browned and the sauce should be reduced down to about ¼ of the original amount.
- Carefully transfer the lamb to a plate.
- With a hand blender, puree the sauce to make it smooth and thick. Use hot water to adjust the thickness and intensity of the sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the lamb shanks on top of mashed potato with plenty of sauce