Braised Lamb Shanks

21 Dec

Now that winter is here I find myself in the kitchen even more than usual. There is something so comforting about cooking or baking when it is cold and rainy outside. I tried this lamb dish out last winter when we had some friends over for dinner and it was a huge hit. Even I was impressed by it and I am usually extremely self-critical about my cooking. This time around, however, it lacked flavour and I think that is because I omitted the sun-dried tomatoes and the wine (because I didn’t have any). Frankly, I think it needed both ingredients to really “wow”. I found this dish to be extremely easy to make; you spend a little time on it in the beginning and then leave it for about 2 hours. That gives you plenty of time to relax, drink a glass of wine and wait for the tender lamb to grace you with its presence. I served this with some simple roasted hasselback potatoes, roasted pumpkin and some steamed broccoli: a nutritious and tasty Sunday evening meal.

Braised Lamb Shanks – Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 lamb shanks
2 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 cups port wine
1 cup red wine
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 heads of garlic, split horizontally
8 cups of chicken stock
8 sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated and coarsely chopped

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven until smoking. Season the shanks on both sides with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown on both sides; remove to a plate. Add the celery, carrots, and onion and cook until caramelized. Add the port and red wine and reduce by half. Add the thyme, garlic, chicken stock and shanks and bring to a boil; cover and bake in the oven for 2 hours or until tender. Remove shanks and strain, reserving 1 cup of the braising liquid. Reduce the remaining liquid by half and add the sun-dried tomatoes.

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