LAMB SHANKS IN LOVELY RED WINE SAUCE
- 4 lamb shanks , around 13 oz / 400 gm each
- 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
- 1 cup onion, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup carrot, finely diced
- 1 cup celery, finely diced
- 2½ cups / 625 ml red wine
- 28 oz / 800 gm can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups / 500 ml chicken stock, low sodium (or water)
- 5 sprigs of thyme (preferably tied together), or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 dried bay leaves (or 4 fresh)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
Pat the lamb shanks dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy based pot over high heat. Sear the shanks in 2 batches until brown all over, about 5 minutes.
Remove shanks onto a plate.
Turn the heat down to medium low. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon 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.
Turn stove up, bring to a simmer. Cover, then transfer to the oven for 2 hours
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 meat is ultra tender – if not, cover and keep cooking. Ideal is tender meat but still just 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
Pour strained sauce back into pot. Bring to simmer over medium heat and reduce slightly to a syrupy consistency . Taste, then add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the lamb shanks on mashed potato with plenty of sauce!
Garnish with thyme leaves if desired.
Recipe and photos: Drienie Hattingh