Ask the butcher for smaller shanks – they tend to be less stringy and require less cooking time.
TO DRINK: Boschendal Reserve Shiraz, made to the French style with an emphasis on elegance and spice, would be my desert island wine – if there was meat on the island…
Braised lamb shanks
- 6 lamb shanks
- 50ml olive oil, for frying
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 2 celery sticks, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 45ml (3 tbsp) tomato paste
- a handful of mixed fresh rosemary
- and thyme, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 250ml (1 cup) red wine
- 1 x 410g tin chopped tomatoes
Remove any excess fat from the lamb and trim the meat away to expose the bone. Reserve the meat trimmings.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil then plunge the shanks into the water for 1 – 2 minutes. This helps the meat to retract around the bone and keeps it intact during cooking.
Heat the oil in a large casserole or saucepan. Season the shanks and trimmings and brown in the olive oil. Add the vegetables and brown them slightly.
Add the garlic, tomato paste, mixed herbs, bay leaves, red wine, tomatoes and enough water to cover the meaty part of the shanks. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer gently for about 1 hour 30 minutes – 2 hours, to the point where the meat is almost falling off the bone.