Lamb loves garlic. Garlic loves lamb. And I love them both!
Would you believe that before I moved to the UK I had never tried lamb (let alone braised lamb shanks)?! I was convinced I would not like it! Although you can buy lamb, especially in the southern parts of Poland, where I grew up it is simply not usual meat to eat.
It all changed 180 degrees when I tried some without knowing that it was lamb! Nowadays lamb is my favorite meat and whether it is a roasted leg, shoulder in a stew, Shepherd’s Pie, chops, ribs or lamb shanks, I always enjoy it.
It’s Braised Lamb Shanks time!
My braised Lamb Shanks dish is very easy to make and 90% of the cooking happens in the oven. The prep can be done in 15 minutes and the remaining 2 ½ hours of cooking (or until the meat is as tender as you’d like it), when all the magic happens, you can do whatever you want.
I like to sear the lamb in a pan first. This adds to the flavor and if you coat your shanks in the flour the sauce will become cloudy and a bit thicker. Just before I finish the searing I add sliced garlic and let it fry for a minute or two before transferring everything into an oven-proof dish. (It is important that the dish is big enough to fit the shanks and small enough for the stock and wine mixture to cover the shanks completely.)
To clear the pan and save all the lovely flavor that stuck to the bottom you can pour in some stock or wine into the pan. Let it bubble for a few minutes before scrubbing the tasty bits off and adding them to the dish with the lamb shanks. (You can skip this step – searing – and place all the ingredients in the oven dish, but increase the cooking time by 20-30 minutes.)
In the UK it is very common to serve lamb shanks with a dollop of creamy mash potato. We all know this can be quite filling. Recently my partner came across this Huffington Post’s article about quinoa, and I must admit I am getting hooked on this gluten free grain after trying it with my lamb shank. I love the delicate popping and the oat and nutty flavor which could work with almost any meaty dish containing sauce or in a salad. If you are curious, have a look at this article about quinoa by Brown Bag, which talks about quinoa in more depth and lists some interesting facts.
My note about quinoa: rinse it well before cooking, cover with cold water (1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water) and allow 15 minutes to cook. Lamb Shanks + quinoa with freshly chopped mint = super tasty combo!
The combination of the tender and literally falling off the bone, flavourful meat with garlic, rosemary, wine and veg sauce makes this dish very special weeknight or a Sunday dinner .
- 4 lamb shanks
- 500 ml of beef or chicken stock
- 200 ml of red hearty wine
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 celery stick
- 8 garlic cloves
- 5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 strings of fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp of dry)
- 2 strings of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp of dry)
- 3.5 tbsp of chopped parsley
- 12 fresh sage leaves (picked)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp of all purpose flour
- 10 mixed peppercorns
- 1 tsp of kosher salt
- Heat the oven up to 200C (400F).
- Coat the lamb shanks in the flour and sear in the pan with the hot oil, turning them and pressing into the pan for 5-7 minutes. Transfer the lamb shanks to the oven-proof dish.
- In the same pan fry the roughly chopped garlic and when it start turning to straw colour add a splash of wine of the stock and while the liquid is bubbling scrub of what got stock to the bottom of the pan off. Add all the content of the pan to the shanks in the oven dish.
- Now chop carrots &celery to 1cm cubes, scatter over the shanks and add all the remaining ingredients.
- Cover the oven dish (you can use an aluminium foil) and plaice in the oven for 2 ½ hours.
- After 2 ½ hours check whether the meat is already falling of the bone and adjust the seasoning of the sauce to your liking.