Braised in a light tomato sauce and finished with lemon gremolata, these lamb shanks have Mediterranean overtones, which is why I like to serve them with buttered orzo or polenta. That said, a bed of mashed potatoes is pretty good, too.
Lamb Shanks Braised in Tomato Sauce with Lemon Gremolata
- Large (approx. 5 quart) slow cooker
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided 25 mL
- 4 large lamb shanks (about 4 lbs/2 kg)
- 3 onions, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves or several whole sprigs, stems and all 5 mL
- 1 tsp each salt and cracked black peppercorns 5 mL
- 1 cup dry white wine 250 mL
- 1 cup chicken stock 250 mL
- 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) tomatoes with juice, coarsely chopped
- Lemon Gremolata
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley 250 mL
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 15 mL
- 1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb, in batches, and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to stoneware as completed. Drain off fat from pan.
- 2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining tbsp (15 mL) of oil to pan. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan. Stir in chicken stock and tomatoes with juice.
- 3. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Cover and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours or on High for 5 to 6 hours, until meat is falling off the bone.
- Lemon Gremolata: About half an hour before serving, in a small serving bowl, combine garlic, parsley, lemon zest and olive oil. Pass around the table, allowing guests to individually garnish their meat.
- Serves 4 to 8
- Whether you cook the lamb shanks whole, halved or have them cut into pieces is a matter of preference. However, if the shanks are left whole, you will be able to serve only four people - each will receive one large shank.
- This recipe generates a lot of liquid, which I think works well if you're serving it over orzo or polenta. If you prefer a thicker sauce, remove the shanks with a slotted spoon, cover and keep warm. Transfer sauce to a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce slightly. Meanwhile, combine 1 tbsp (15 mL) each softened butter and all-purpose flour until blended. Remove sauce from the heat and whisk flour mixture in for 1 minute, until slightly thickened.
- Make Ahead
- Complete Step 2. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you're ready to cook, complete recipe.
Judith Finlayson http://judithfinlayson.com/