Slow roasting lamb shanks turns the most unassuming piece of meat into a mouth-watering delicacy! The good news is that this dish takes hardly any effort to produce and once it’s in the oven you can sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that, while you’re chilling out, you will be left with delicious meat that practically falls of the bone. This recipe is from my book Kitchen Hero: Bringing Cooking Back Home.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 lamb shanks
3 onions, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 celery stick, finely sliced
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
350ml red wine
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
650ml vegetable or beef stock
350g brown lentils, rinsed
A good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread, to serve
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F), Gas mark 2. Heat the half the olive oil in a large casserole, add the lamb shanks and cook for 4–5 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove from the casserole and set aside. Heat the remaining oil in the casserole, add the onions and fry for 2–3 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the garlic, carrot and celery and fry for another couple of minutes. Pop in the rosemary sprigs and stir through. Add the wine, chopped tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Return the browned lamb shanks to the casserole and pour over the stock. Add the brown lentils and stir well.
Do not season at this stage as salt can stop the lentils from softening. Bring to a steady simmer, then cover and cook in the oven very slowly for 3 hours until the meat is extremely tender and almost falls off the bone. Towards the end of cooking time, taste and season with a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
Serve in large deep bowls with crusty bread to soak up the juices.