Braised Lamb Shanks
There's nothing arduous about cooking these shanks yet the results — a sticky, melt-in-the-mouth tenderness and deep, rich flavour — are arrestingly good.
2 tbsp plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 lamb shanks
3 tbsp neutral oil
4 whole heads garlic, halved crosswise
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp soft brown sugar
a dash of hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 cup port
2 sprigs rosemary, stalks removed, finely chopped
2 cups beef or lamb stock
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Place flour in a clean plastic bag with salt and a generous grind of pepper.
Add shanks and shake to lightly coat.
Heat oil in a large, heavy-based pan and brown shanks in batches.
Transfer to a large baking dish along with garlic halves.
Discard excess fat from pan, add tomato paste and cook a minute or two to let the flavour develop.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a fast simmer.
Stir well to lift any pan sediments then pour over meat.
Cover and bake for 2 hours (or if serving at once and not reheating, cook for 2½-3 hours or until very tender).
Cool, chill then remove any fat that sits on top.
To reheat, bring back to room temperature then cook a further 1 hour at 160°C.
Serve shanks with a garlic half and sauce.
Accompany with mash and peas and beans.
You can use beef or lamb stock for this recipe. We like to use a full-bodied red wine such as merlot for maximum flavour.
If you are covering this with foil, make sure you cut out a piece of baking paper that will sit inside the dish on top of the meat. This will ensure the meat does not dry out.