Now that the weather has turned cold, turn up the heat in the kitchen with these slow cooked lamb shanks. By all means, you can substitute the meat with osso bucco (veal) or oxtail, it will work just as well.
For a richer sauce you could also include red wine, however I find that it becomes too heavy. I used the vermouth and tomatoes to give a good depth of flavour but it doesn’t overpower.
This dish can be served with potato gratin, mashed potato, or as we prefer, Polenta. I like to stir a knob of marinated goats cheese through the polenta. It adds a flavour dimension to the Polenta and goes perfect with the dish.
1.5kg of meat (osso bucco, oxtail or lamb shanks)
cornflour for dusting and oil for frying
1 tblspn butter
3 stalks celery, cut into tiny cubes
3 carrots, cut into tiny cubes
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tblspn fresh rosemary, chopped finely
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 splash of Nolli Pratt vermouth (or dry sherry)
500ml chicken stock
2 tsp brown sugar
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 splash balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
1 garlic clove
2 tblspn parsley
zest of 1/2 lemon
1. Dust meat in cornflour. Heat oil in a frypan. Add meat and fry on all sides until golden brown. set aside.
2. In a large heavy casserole dish, sweat onion until translucent. Add rosemary, garlic, celery and carrot. Cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add vermouth to the pan and cook out the alcohol for two minutes.
4. Put the meat, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme and sugar in the saucepan. Add the stock and stir until combined. After an hour of cooking, add balsamic vinegar.
5. Cover and cook slowly on lowest heat until the meat is meltingly tender (this could take 2-3 hours). Towards the end of the cooking time, if you need to thicken sauce do this by making a slurry of 1 cup liquid from the stew with a tablespoon of cornflour and stir back into stew.
6. Once cooked, season and leave to rest for 30minutes with the lid on while you cook the Polenta.
7. Make Gremolata by finely chopping garlic, parsley and stirring through lemon zest.
8. Serve shanks over Polenta and top with Gremolata.