Slow Roasted Lamb Shanks
Lamb shanks always make a delicious meal and they are easy to work with. It is hard to overcook them because they have quite a high fat content. In fact, if you keep the heat quite low (we are using 180 degrees C/350 degrees F here but you can go lower and cook longer) you will be able to see when the shanks are cooked. If the meat is still clinging tightly to the bone, they need more time. If the meat is coming away from the bone and very tender they are done. So there is no need for meat thermometers or cutting into the meat to check with this recipe. In fact, it is simple enough for a cooking novice.
We are cutting little pockets into the lamb and filling them with a butter and herb mixture, then sitting each shank on a bed of garlic, adding a splash of white wine, enclosing them in foil packets and baking them until perfect. If you want to add some vegetables between the garlic and lamb, consider adding a couple of finely sliced carrots, a finely sliced onion and a finely sliced leek to the recipe. Else make vegetables to serve on the side.
You might remember lamb shanks being much cheaper a few years back and, if so, you are right! Unfortunately this cut of lamb has recently come into vogue with celebrity chefs favouring it in recipes. This of course pushed up the demand and therefore the price. However, lamb shanks still work out cheaper than some other cuts, such as lamb cutlets, for the amount of meat you get.
- 6 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 3½ oz (100g) cold butter
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 15 fresh sage leaves
- 12 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 4 crown or French-trimmed lamb shanks
- Olive oil, as needed
- 1 cup (250ml) white wine
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
- Pick the leaves off the rosemary sprigs.
- Puree them with the butter, the thyme, some salt and black pepper, and most of the sage in a food processor.
- Cut between the meat and bone of a lamb shank, from the base upwards, to make a pocket-like hole.
- Repeat with the other 3 lamb shanks.
- Stuff ¼ of the butter mixture into each one.
- Divide the garlic between 4 large pieces of foil.
- Rub the lamb shanks with oil and add some salt and black pepper.
- Put one on each square of foil.
- Add the rosemary sprigs and sage leaves.
- Pull up the sides of the foil and pour the wine on top.
- Pinch the foil closed tightly.
- Snip off any excess with scissors.
- Put the lamb shank parcels on a baking tray, bones pointing upwards.
- Cook for 2½ hours or until the lamb is very tender and beginning to come off the bone.
- If you want, you can give it a few minutes under the grill (broiler) to crisp up the skin.
- Let them rest in foil for 10 minutes then serve.
Serve this tasty lamb shank with your favourite vegetables. May we suggest some kale mashed potatoes and perhaps baby carrots and radishes? If you prefer something traditional, how about garden peas and some boiled potatoes. Whatever you choose to serve, you will not regret making this fantastic dish. The lamb shanks are filled with a herbed butter mixture and roasted with garlic and white wine. Lamb shanks are really easy to cook because you can clearly identify when they are perfectly cooked, and that is when the meat is literally falling off the bone.
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