With the sudden arrival of winter the first thing that came to mind to cook on Monday for dinner was lamb shanks. It’s hard to go passed them for a delicious slow cooked meal. I started by thinking I’d do something flavoured with Indian spices but discovered I was missing a few and didn’t feel like going out in a downpour. I went with what I had in my pantry so opted for a fairly traditional sort of recipe with the addition of anchovies, juniper berries and black peppercorns. I used plenty of garlic but that’s up to you. There’s lots of flavour here!! You’ll get little hints of pepperiness and the juniper berries give their own unique taste.
Ingredients (for 4)
4 lamb shanks1 large carrot, peeled and finely cubed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 leeks, finely chopped
2-3 heads garlic, halved crosswise
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp plain flour
1 small jar anchovies
1 tbsp black peppercorns, roughly crushed
1 tbsp juniper berries, roughly crushed
Bouquet garni made by tying together fresh parsley, thyme, 2-3 bay leaves
½ tbsp honey
⅓ cup white wine vinegar
2 cups red wine
2 cups chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat a little olive oil in a flameproof lidded oven dish and brown the lamb shanks. Remove and set them aside and add the chopped carrot, onion, shallot, celery and leeks. Put the lid on the dish and cook the vegetables until they’re quite soft but not brown.
Next stir in the tomato paste and flour. Cook for a minute or two. Add all the rest of the ingredients settling the lamb shanks in last. Cover with a piece of baking paper and the lid.
Place in the oven. After 20 minutes turn the oven down to 150°C. Cook for about 3 hours. Turn the lamb shanks over after 1½ hours or so. If the liquid seems to have reduced too much add some water.
The meat should fall off the bone when the shanks are ready. Even if you don’t usually eat anchovies make sure you add them here as they dissolve with cooking and add depth to this dish.
I served the shanks with pumpkin and kumara mash and braised collard greens (a new favourite vegetable). I stripped the leaves from the stalks, cooked the leaves in a little water for about 10 minutes. I then drained them, refreshed in cold water and squeezed out all the water. Just before I was ready to serve the lamb, I melted a little butter and olive oil in a pan, added crushed garlic, the collard greens and grated over fresh nutmeg. I cooked this for about 2 minutes.