Lamb Shanks and the City • 06.21.08
Last Sunday, after walking through the cold, drizzly afternoon to get to the cinema and indulging in the Sex and the City movie- light, fluffy, slightly cheesy at best- I was ready for a warm, hearty, meaty dinner.
(I was also inspired to immediately go buy two new pairs of shoes, but that is a totally different story!)
We have a bit of a Sunday ritual around here. Sunday afternoons provide us with the opportunity to make more complicated or elaborate dinners, or even to just start something yummy and leave it to simmer all afternoon while we read or watch a movie. Add to that a bottle of really nice red, Grey’s Anatomy and lots of cuddling. Sunday is honestly my favourite day of the week. It’s also a great way to ease back into the week.
So, for this lazy Sunday evening- lamb shanks it was!
We didn’t eat a lot of lamb until we moved to Australia, but now I absolutely love it. Lamb is tasty, easy to cook and available in most shops around us.
These shanks were started around 5.30pm on a rainy Sunday afternoon and by 8.30pm we had a delicious dinner that honestly required minimum fuss. A few minutes of work at the beginning followed by a long, slow simmer and dinner is ready. As Carrie Bradshaw would say, “I couldn’t help but wonder… should it really be this easy?”
Lamb shanks for a Sunday evening
Leave these on to simmer for a while- 2 hours at least- and you’ll have a truly fine dinner for the cooler months. We served them with cubed roasted potatoes and pumpkin. Although, as Andy pointed out, the shanks would have been better with mashed potatoes. There was a ton of gorgeous juice left over from the shanks and a pile of mashed potatoes would have really done that justice. Oh well, next time!
2 lamb shanks- ask your butcher to “French” them. This just means removing most of the meat and fat from the top of the bone
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
Place a large pan with a lid over medium heat. Add 1/2 the oil. Season the lamb shanks with course salt (I used Maldon, but use whatever you have) and cracked pepper. When the oil is hot add the shanks to the pan and brown them on all sides. Remove the shanks from the pan and allow to rest on a plate.
Add the rest of the oil. Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir until the wine has reduced by about 1/2. Add the tomato paste and stir for another minute.
Return the lamb shanks to the pan. Pour in the beef stock. Top up the pan with enough water to mostly submerge the lamb shanks (it’s ok if a few little bits are sticking out.)
Turn the heat down to low, put the top on the pan and allow to simmer for at least 2 hours. Taste the broth occasionally to determine if you’d like more salt or pepper (I added more of both about half way through the cooking time.)
Lamb shanks are ready when the meat is falling off the bone and smells so good you can’t wait any longer to eat!