01 June 2011

Braised Lamb Shanks

I like nothing better than a Sunday afternoon pottering in the kitchen, meat roasting in the oven or a stew or casserole simmering away.  I love having the time on a Sunday afternoon, there is none of the week day rush and you can cook nice and slow.  As they say good things come to those who wait.  And while you are waiting you can curl up on the couch with a good book and have a truly lazy Sunday afternoon. Whether it be the traditional Sunday roast or a slow cooked shoulder of lamb it is all worth the wait, what can be sometimes be an almost agonizing wait as meaty aromas waft from the oven through the house.  

This is how to laze...
This is another of my winter go to dishes and originates with Anne Burrell.  The sauce is rich and the meat meltingly tender, falling off the bone.  All that is very, very good but what elevates this to amazing for me is that addition of a little gremolata spiked with horseradish.  The sharp, citrusy, garlicky, parsley paste the perfect fresh and zesty foil for the deep red tomato sauce.

Braised Lamb Shanks, courtesy Anne Burrell

Serves 4


Extra-virgin olive oil
4 lamb shanks
Salt and pepper
1 large onion or 2 small onions, cut into 2cm/1-inch dice
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm/1/2-inch dice
3 celery stalks, cut into 1cm/1/2-inch dice
4 cloves garlic
1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups (500ml) hearty red wine
2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
10 to 12 thyme branches tied together in a bundle
3 to 4 cups water
4 bay leaves
Gremolata, recipe follows
1 orange, zested
1 lemon, zested
¼ cup finely chopped parsley leaves
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish


Preheat the oven to 200C /400F.

Coat a large casserole dish generously with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. Brown the shanks well on all sides.

Meanwhile, place the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse paste. Set the paste aside.
Remove the shanks from the pan and set aside.  Discard the excess fat from the pan.  Add a little olive oil, just to coat the bottom of the pan and add in the vegetable paste.  Season with a little salt and pepper and saute until they are quite brown and fragrant.  It will take about 20 minutes and form a little bit of a crust on the bottom of the pan.  Be sure not to let it burn. we want brown and tasty rather then black and charred.

Add the tomato paste and saute for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, chopped rosemary and thyme bundle and stir frequently until the wine has reduced by about half.  Add the shanks back to the pan and add in the water. The shanks should be completely submerged, if need be add more water. Add the bay leaves, cover and put in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn the shanks over about halfway through the cooking time and if the liquid has reduced too much add a little more water. 

For the gremolata; in a small bowl mix together all the ingredients and set aside until you are ready to serve. 

When the shanks are done the meat will be wonderfully tender and come away easily from the bone. Serve with some mashed potato, or even better a potato and celeriac mash, and top with a little of the gremolata.

 And of course a little camera v iPhone...
These would have to be up there with the ultimate comfort food.  Rich, tender, full of flavour and with the fresh, citrusy gremolata to cut through all that rich tomatoey sauce. With a pile of mash to sop up all that thick, rich sauce what more could you want on a lazy winter Sunday afternoon?  Apart from maybe a glass of hearty red and a roaring fire....thankfully Winter does indeed have some benefits. 



  1. Ohh I love lamb shanks so much. You're right, winter definitely has its benefits, one of the best ones being cold sundays indoors cooking!

  2. YUUUMMM... I've always shied away from cooking lamb shanks at home, fearing that they'll turn out dry and stringy. But I think I might be brave enough to try it this winter.

  3. Thanks for the shanks recipe. Well worth the cookin' an' eatin'.

  4. @Amateur Cook Thanks for stopping by, glad you like the lamb shanks :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...