Lamb Shanks Braised with Red Wine and Vegetables [Dairy-Free]
We are one month away from Spring.
When the weather is like this, I’m reticent to bundle up the kids and head out in the evenings. Maybe it’s the 4-times-a-day bundle up/dress down that we go through every weekday. Perhaps it’s my own disdain for having to shovel snow every time we step outside this winter. Thank goodness there are foods like this to help us through the snowy, icy coldness that has taken hold. Thank goodness we have something like this to offer our friends to entice them to get bundled up and come visit.
One cozy cottage weekend years ago, I stumbled across a recipe for lamb shanks in an old magazine. That cozy weekend inspired me to make lamb shanks instead of only having them when we were at restaurants for dinner. This extravagant and silky meal is so simple to prepare and requires very little attention once you’ve gotten it into the oven. It’s as perfect for entertaining as it is for a weekend roast dinner.
So, although the countdown to spring is on, it’s not quite here yet. In the meantime, warm your family and friends with a lingering, relaxed dinner of these hearty lamb shanks.
Lamb Shanks Braised with Red Wine and Vegetables
4 lamb shanks
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
a few tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry red wine
1 796ml can San Marzano-style whole tomatoes
1 360ml bottle tomato passata
300g frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 heaping tablespoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
polenta, pasta or fresh bread (to serve, optional)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Sprinkle pepper over the lamb shanks. In a large ovenproof pot, heat 2 tbsp over medium-high heat. Add the lamb shanks and brown them on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and pour off the fat from the bottom of the pot.
Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, carrots and garlic. Fry, stirring often until the onion is softened. Stir in the wine, tomatoes, tomato passata, spinach, basil and salt. Break up the tomatoes and then add the lamb and accumulated juices back into the pot. Arrange the lamb in a single layer.
Cover and bake until the lamb is tender and separates easily from the bone (about 2 1/2-3 hours). Remove the lid and roast for another 15-20 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce slightly and meat to brown. Skim off fat and serve with your choice of polenta, pasta or fresh bread.
Tips and Suggestions:
Make the lamb a day ahead, remove the vegetables and lamb and let it cool. It is much easier to skim the fat from the top once everything has been separated and cooled.
This recipe is also published in EatInEatOut Magazine’s Winter 2014 issue.