Once again following my Women’s Weekly month rule, I decided to make something that would be ultimate comfort food especially since the nights have started to get noticeably cooler. This recipe asked for the shanks to be french cut – I was unsure what this meant but our butcher happily explained that it means to cut the knuckle off and trim a section of meat from one side at the top so when it cooks the meat shrinks to the base of the shank. It all sounded very straightforward and he prepared our shanks that way.
The recipe actually asks for 8 lamb shanks but I didn’t have a big enough pot to fit that many shanks into that would also go into our oven. In fact I’m not sure many people would have that big a pot at home! You can see from my photo that I have perfectly fitted 4 shanks into my large Le Creuset pot and with 4 more the lid would not have fitted and the liquid would have spilled over. I also think good quality wine makes the flavours in this dish more special although my mum almost passed out when I told her we’d opened a bottle of Mad Fish wine to use.
This recipe is easy; great to serve for guests and the flavours of the tender meat with the slow cooked vegetables, swollen barley and red wine make it a hearty meal.
Lamb Shanks with Red Wine and Barley
8 lean french trimmed lamb shanks
2 medium onions
3 cloves garlic
4 medium carrots chopped
1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef stock
400g tin crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tblspn chopped fresh thyme
1. Coat a medium flameproof dish with oil spray and cook the lamb in batches, until browned all over. Remove from the dish and set aside
2. Halve onions lengthways and cut into thick wedges. Cook onion and garlic in the same dish stirring until the onion is soft.
3. Return the lamb to the dish with carrots, barley, wine, stock, undrained tomatoes and paste. Bring it to the boil for a few minutes.
4. Cover and bake in a moderate oven for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
5. Stir in thyme and bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes or until lamb is tender.