Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Slow Braised Lamb Shanks with Preserved Lemon & Gremolata

I love a good lamb shank, the way the succulent morsels of meat fall of the bone in juicy chunks, covered in a thin film of sticky fat. And a slow cooker is an ideal way of cooking them! This recipe which i've adapted from Three Tastes is a great example, with the lemony richness of the preserved lemon permeating the meat over it's long cooking time. There's something satisfying about throwing a bunch of ingredients in a pot, waking up the next morning, and finding the most delicious, tender meal waiting for you for dinner. As a further effort, i like to remove the shanks from the slow cooker and place them in a very hot oven for a short while, to crisp them up a little on the outside. This add a little extra texture to a soft, melt in your mouth dish. 

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 4 large lamb shanks, around 350gm each
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 large cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2 medium onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup parsley
  • Peel 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Polenta, for serving


Remove the inside of the preserved lemon to leave only the peel.
slice the preserved lemon into thin slivers.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan
Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides

Transfer lamb shanks to slow cooker or to a dutch oven

Add the garlic and onions to the oil and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the wine and cook for 1 minute to deglaze the pan and remove the alcohol.

Pour the wine, onions and garlic over the shanks
Scatter the preserved lemon and oregano over the lamb. 
Pour the tomatoes over the lamb.

Cover and if in slow cooker, cook on low for 8-12 hours; if in dutch oven, bake in a 160 degree oven for 4 hours.
Don't turn the shanks as they may fall apart.
Remove the shanks from the liquid.

Blend the remaining sauce into a puree and reduce over a medium heat until 1/2 original amount.

Place the shanks in the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes to get a slight crust on the outside.

Meanwhile, cook the polenta as per packet instructions.
Meanwhile, top the parsley finely.

Finely chop the garlic and lemon peel.

Mix the parlsey, garlic and lemon together to form the gremolata.

Serve the lamb shank on a bed of polenta. Ladle over some of the sauce and top with a sprinkling of the gremolata.

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