BRAISED LAMB SHANKS (Using Slow Cooker)
By: Chef Cristian
Braising is an excellent method of cooking when working with tough meats. Braising is classically done by, first, browning the meat on all sides on a hot skillet. This helps to seal the moisture inside the meat. The meat is then placed in a pot with a lid and is cooked with a small amount of liquid for a long time at low heat. This method of cooking results in a juicy, tender dish with rich flavour and moisture.
For this particular recipe I will be using a slow cooker, or “crockpot”. This is an appliance which cooks food at very low temperatures for a very long time.
This recipe is very similar to my Osso Bucco recipe (Braised Beef Shanks) and you can substitue Beef or Veal Shanks for the Lamb and make a tasty Osso Bucco.
I would serve this dish with creamy mashed potatoes if cooking this dish at home. But if I was trying to wow a crowd (I wouldn’t have to try hard with this dish) I would serve it on a bed of Spatzle or Pearled Barley with Herbs, which would absorb much of the rich sauce. As for a wine pairing; Any wine that you enjoy is the perfect wine! However, a bold Red Wine such as Shiraz or Merlot would go quite nicely with this saucy dish.
6 Lamb Shanks
3 to 4 Cups of Beef Stock
3 Tbsp of Tomato Paste
2 to 3 Cups of Red Wine
2 Large Bay Leaves
A pinch of dried Rosemarry, Oregano and Thyme
1 Medium Onion Diced
3 Celery Stalks Sliced
2 Medium Carrots Diced
Salt and Pepper
1. The first step in all of my recipes is to prepare all your ingredients. This means that you mix, chop, cut, dice, and prepare everything you’re going to need! For this recipe you should have ready to go:
- Prepared Beef Stock
- Tomato Paste Ready to go
- Diced Vegetables
2. Add the lamb shanks, beef stock, bay leaves, red wine, and dried herbs to the slow cooker and cover with lid.
3. Turn the slow cooker on low and cook for 7 hours. Once you have placed the lid on the slow cooker and turned it on, do not uncover it. The slow cooker takes a long time to heat up and you could lose much of that heat by uncovering it. Once the lamb is cooked. Take the shanks out of the slow cooker and keep them on the side while you work on the sauce. Keep all the liquid that is in the slow cooker. You are about to make a sauce with it.
4. Bring a sauce pot to medium heat, add a small amount of vegetable oil and start to cook the diced onion, carrot and celery. Cook for about 15 minutes until onion is translucent.
Add the liquid from the slow cooker into the sauce pot. Add the 3 Tbsp of Tomato Paste and mix with a whisk or spoon. Bring to a simmer.
5. While you are waiting for the sauce to simmer, add a cup of flour to a bowl and add vegetable oil to it. Mix it with a fork. Add just enough vegetable oil to the flour so that it creates a paste the consistency of tooth paste. This is called a roux and it will be used to thicken your sauce.
Once the sauce has come to a simmer, turn the heat down low and begin to add the roux with a whisk (make sure to mix thoroughly and quickly). Add a little roux at a time until desired thickness has been reached in the sauce (you don't have to use all the roux). Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Cook sauce at low heat for another 15 minutes. Once the sauce is ready, combine the shanks and the sauce together and enjoy with your favourite side dish such as: Mashed Potato, Pearled Barley or Spatzle.