A simple Italian-style dish of slow braised lamb shanks in a rich, herby tomato sauce – delicious served over mashed potatoes, brown rice or soft polenta.
- 1 tbsp light oil
- 2 small medium or lamb shanks
- freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
- 1 brown onion
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large garlic clove
- generous sprig fresh sage
- generous sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 125ml (1/2 cup) red wine
- 1 x 400g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
- 250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
- fresh mint or flat leaf parsley, for serving
- mashed potatoes, brown rice or soft polenta, for serving
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees (320 farenheit). Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed casserole dish over a medium heat. Season the lamb shanks all over with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in the pan, setting aside afterwards.
- Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion and the carrot. Turn the heat down to low and add them to the pan with a little more salt. Fry for 8-10 minutes until the onions and carrot are soft and just starting to colour.
- Peel and add the garlic, crushed or finely grated, and cook until aromatic. Finely chop the fresh herbs and stir them into the pan along with the bay leaf and lots more seasoning.
- Add the wine turn the heat back up to medium, allowing it to bubble away and reduce by half. Now is the time to scrape up any brown bits from browning the lamb shanks stuck to the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon into the sauce.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, then the stock, using the stock to wash out the tomato tin making sure you don’t leave any tomato sauce behind.
- Return the lamb shanks to the sauce and bring to the boil. Clap on the lid and transfer to the oven to braise for 2 hours (small lamb shanks) to 2 1/2 hours (medium ones). When the lamb is cooked it should be falling off the bone and fork tender.
- Lay a couple of sheets of kitchen paper over the top of the sauce (I remove the shanks while I do this) to absorb the layer of fat sitting on top.
- Season the sauce again to taste before serving over mashed potato, brown rice or polenta, sprinkled with roughly chopped soft herbs.