Winter is the time to take everything slowly. Slow walks along the beach, slow to get dressed on weekend mornings, slow read of the paper and slow cooked food. It’s my favourite time of year for cooking because the frantic, last minute prepping of summer food is replaced with melt-in-your-mouth one pot wonders, with no worry about having to watch over the pot every couple of minutes.
This recipe ticks all the boxes. I haven’t used a recipe from a book. That’s the beauty of slow cooking. You don’t need to. Follow a few basic principles (right cut of meat, inject flavour into the sauce and don’t rush it) and you can’t go wrong. It’s the old adage – the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Slow cooking is food alchemy.
The recipe is below along with a few photos of the food and us enjoying our new backgarden.
Lamb shanks slow braised in Sangiovese, served with pasta
4 x lamb shanks
Plain flour to dust the lamb
1 x rasher of bacon or proscuitto
1 x carrot, stick of celery and onion, all finely diced
2 cloves of garlic
6 x French shallots
Mix of herbs, tied with butcher’s twine (I used rosemary, bay and parsley)
1 x large tin of tomatoes
Enough red wine (don’t get cheap plonk, it’s not worth it. I went for Sangiovese) to cover the meat in a casserole dish (needs a tight fitting lid and should be big enough to hold the meat nice and snugly)
- Dust the shanks in plain flour. Knock off any excess flour.
- Heat oil in the casserole dish on a fairly high heat.
- Brown the shanks. Set aside for later
- Brown the bacon/proscuitto. Set aside.
- Lower heat and add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook until softened (probably about ten minutes)
- Add the chopped garlic and cook for a minute or so
- Add any excess flour to the cooked vegetables and stir through (this will help thicken the sauce)
- Add the lamb shanks, bacon, herbs, tomatoes and enough wine to cover the meat (around half a bottle, depending on the size of your casserole dish). Season to taste.
- Bring liquid to the boil, turn heat down to a simmer and add the lid. Cook on a low heat for at least a couple of hours.
- Check the meat. When it falls off the bone without any effort it’s done. At this point I take the bones out, remove the lid and cook for another hour or until the sauce has reduced or thickened.
- Serve with pasta, and finish with decent parmesan and chopped parsley. I tried to make handmade parpardelle but I made a right pigs ear of the dough. I used the wrong flour. So I had to go with dried penne – it’s all we had.