Spanish Lamb Shanks


adore slow cooked dishes especially as it usually involves a a budget friendly cut such as lamb shanks. My favourite way to cook meat, besides the barbeque obviously…But while the first May bank holiday weekend delivered us a beautifully sunny and fresh evening, the morning hadn’t been as promising for a barbie. My sodden raincoat and squelching trainers sat drying in the sun were evidence enough. With not much time in my working week to knock out a slow cooked creation, the bank holiday offered the perfect opportunity. So a slow cooked, tender, succulent lamb shank in a glossy, sticky sauce studded with manly chunks of chorizo and vege was a definite good alternative. Scattered with fresh mint served on some creamy silky parsnip mash we went to bed with happy stomaches. Oh and we might have finished the meal with some bank holiday brownies. Ahem….

Serves 4

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 300ml hot beef stock
  • 350ml red wine (Rioja is suggested)
  • 200ml balsamic vinegar
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Handful of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 125g chorizo, sliced
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 carrots, sliced into chunks horizontally
  • Fresh mint to serve
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly cracked black pepper and salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Heat a large casserole dish on a medium high heat and add a good splash of olive oil. Season the lamb shanks well and brown on all sides in the pan until golden and crisp in places then remove to a plate.
  2. Using the same pan, heat the wine and vinegar and boil for about 5 minutes to simmer off the sharpness of the liquids.
  3. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, some seasoning and the hot stock. Peel the garlic cloves and crush lightly with the back of a knife. Finally add these and the lamb shanks submerged in the liquid.
  4. Place in the oven for 2 hours with the lid on.
  5. After 2 hours, remove from the oven and baste. Add the chopped onion, carrot and chorizo and turn the oven up to 180°C. Remove the lid and place in the oven for a further hour to brown and reduce the sauce.
  6. After this time the meat should be deliciously tender and falling off the bone. Remove the dish from the oven. Place the lamb shanks onto a warm plate and cover with foil while you deal with the sauce. Bring the liquid to a boil on the hob and simmer for about 5-10 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce (Add 1 tbsp of cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp of cold water if needed and whisk this in to thicken further). Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  7. Place the lamb shanks back in the glossy sauce and pop in the oven to keep warm while you prepare the side dishes. I served mine with creamy parsnip mash and purple sprouting broccoli.

Serve one shank per person in a warm bowl a top some creamy mash with some vege and sauce. Scatter over some fresh mint and enjoy!image

WINE: Nothing seems more appropriate here than a native Spanish vino and something substantial to complement the lamb. Try a Rioja such as the La Rioja Alta, 2008 Viña Alberdi Reserva available at Armit Wines.

Jess - Rioja Alta