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Braised Lamb Shanks With Lentils & Red Wine

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This succulent and tasty dish is an absolute classic, and also very economical, costing around $11 for a family of four

INGREDIENTS: For Four People

  • 4 to 6 Lamb Shanks

  • One large onion

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • Tablespoon of tomatoe paste

  • 150ml red wine ( the better it is the better the flavour )

  • Tin of lentils

  • Beef, lamb or chicken stock ( powder will do..add vegemite or bovril as well if you have any of them).

  • Mixed herbs, teaspoon of.

METHOD: Flour and Brown the lamb shanks in a good sized pan. Remove and place in an oven dish. Slice the onions and chop up the garlic and soften in the same pan for a few minutes. Remove and place in oven dish.
Warm up red wine and stock together in the pan and deglaze the pan, before adding to the oven dish.
Throw in the lentils, a teaspoonful of mixed herbs, a tablespoon of tomatoe paste, and even a long dash of Worcestershire Sauce.
Place in a slow oven of around 130deg C and cook for a couple of hours, or until the lamb is tender.
If there is too much liquid, then pour off into a pan, reduce over a high heat until you have the right amount and add back to the lamb dish.
The lamb should be falling off the bone.

SERVE: with mashed potatoes or crusty bread, or make a mash of carrots and coriander, or one of parsnips and carrots mixed. Anything to soal up that unctious sauce.

OPTIONS: add carrots or any root vegetables to the dish. Leave out the garlic if you prefer.

TIPS: with slow cooking you are always after maximum flavour and tenderness, sometimes this takes less or more time and for no apparent reason, so taste as you go.  For maximum flavour the sauce reduction as described above is very important and using a good stock is also a great starting point. I always keep a jar of Bovril in the cupboard as well as a bottle of Worcestershire Sauce to add depth of flavour.
Tenderness of stewed meat is not just a question of time, but also a question of temperature. The nearer to just over 100 degC you can cook the meat at, the less traumatised it will be in cooking and the softer it will be when cooked.
If you let the stew sit for half an hour or so before eating then it will be even more tender.
Any good stew may be made a day or two in advance and will benfit from this, although when reheating it is important not to overboil or heat up too much or the meat will toughen up very quickly.