This is one of my ultimate go-to recipes. Here, you see it pictured when my friend and I made it for New Year’s Eve dinner. Notice the lack of spinach on the front plate…
This past weekend, it was the recipe I pulled out when my new in-laws came over for dinner. My husband loves this dish, despite the fact that the sauce is chunky with all the aromatic vegetables. The slow-cooking helps, as the vegetables lose any of their naturally crunchy texture that would normally gross him out. I served the shanks and sauce on top of a bed of yukon gold mashed potatoes.
Spiced Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks
4 lamb shanks
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 small dried red chilli
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, quartered & finely sliced
6 sticks of celery, quartered & finely sliced
2 medium onions, quartered & finely chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
170ml dry white wine (Kitty’s note: Red also works fine here)
6 anchovy fillets
2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes (Kitty’s note: One 28oz box of Pomi is perfect)
1 handful of fresh basil, marjoram or flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Season the lamb with salt & pepper. Smash up the coriander seeds & dried chilli & mix with rosemary & dried oregano (Kitty’s note: Use a mortar and pestle if you have it! So much fun!). Roll the lamb in this mixture, pressing it well. Dust the lamb with the flour. Heat a thick bottomed casserole pan, add the oil, brown the meat on all sides & then remove from the pan. Add the garlic, carrot, celery, onions & a pinch of salt and sweat until softened. Add the vinegar & allow it to reduce to a syrup. Pour in the wine & allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Add the anchovies & tinned tomatoes, kept whole. Shake the pan & return the lamb to it. Bring to the boil, put on a lid & simmer in the oven at 350F for 1 ½ hours, then remove lid & cook for a further half an hour. Season to taste & stir in the fresh herbs.
Lamb shanks are such a great cut of meat. They are inexpensive, and I love entertaining with a dish that requires slow-cooking…that way, I can do all the work before my guests arrive, and just pull it out of the oven when we are ready for dinner. Lamb shanks make for a great presentation too, their appearance changes as you cook them, and each one becomes your very own little lamb drumstick.
As far as the veggie breakdown, the sauce tastes so great with the mashed potatoes, that my husband ends up eating far more veggies than he realizes. Bonus health points as well for the addition of the anchovy filets to the sauce, and the abundance of fresh herbs (I topped the dish with chopped flat-leaf parsley). Granted, the veggies in this dish are not high on the nutrition scale as far as they compare to other vegetables, but for a guy who subsisted on KFC and pop-tarts when I first met him, this amounted to a healthy (though not low-calorie) meal.
On our official veggie fake out broccoli scale (in which I rate the recipe based on health factor, volume of veggies consumed, and skill at hiding said veggies), I will give this recipe 4 out of 10 heads of broccoli.