Lamb Shanks are one of my favourite cuts of lamb. They are neatly individually portioned (generously!) and the rich, sweet meat is amongst the finest. Cooked low and slow they are a wonderful meal for a special occasion. Spring yields some wonderful ingredients too, with the short-lived Wild Garlic being one that we clamour for whenever available. We’ve paired these two favourites in this recipe – the punchy salsa verde is beautiful with the slow-braised lamb shanks.
Sitting atop a bed of luscious wet polenta, it’s a perfect spring feast!
THE LAMB SHANKS
4 Lamb Shanks,
2 Onions, finely diced
25ml Balsamic Vinegar
250ml Red Wine
500ml Chicken Stock,
4 Garlic Cloves, bashed
2–3 Bay Leaves
20g Plain Flour
1 Small Bunch of Rosemary, sprigs
Generous Pinch of Salt & Pepper
WILD GARLIC SALSA VERDE
1 Small Bunch of Wild Garlic, approx 25g
1 Small Bunch of Parsley, approx 15g
1 Small Bunch of Basil, approx 15g
1 Small Bunch of Mint, approx 10g
2 tsp. Capers,
5–10 Small Cornichons,
5 Anchovy Fillets,
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard,
20ml Red Wine Vinegar,
50ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt & Pepper
THE WILD GARLIC SALSA VERDE
1. Add all of the ingredients apart from the Vinegar and Olive Oil into a food processor and blitz until thoroughly minced. Add the Vinegar into and pulse until the mixture is loosened.
2. With the blade spinning, slowly add in the olive oil until an even textured sauce is achieved. Season the salsa with salt and pepper, adding more oil or vinegar if necessary. Set aside until ready to use.
THE LAMB SHANKS
1. Preheat the oven to 160Cº.
2. Place a large, casserole pan over medium-high heat with a lug of Olive Oil.
3. Add the flour into a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Next, dredge the Lamb Shanks in the flour until evenly coated.
4. Put the Lamb into the pan and brown on all sides until golden and crisp. This should take about 6-8 minutes. You may need to work in batches to do this. Once browned, remove from the pan.
5. Add the onion to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to colour. Then, add the garlic and rosemary sprigs and cook for a further 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the Balsamic Vinegar, scraping off any fond at the bottom of the pan.
6. Return the Lamb Shanks to the pot, along with the wine and top up with chicken stock until just covering the meat of the shanks. You may need to add more or less chicken stock than specified depending on the size of your pan. Add the bay leaves to the pan and turn up the heat, bringing to a simmer.
7. Lastly, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven, cooking for 2½ hours or until the meat is tender and starting to fall off the bone.
TIP – You may want to turn the Lamb Shanks halfway through cooking, stirring the sauce as you go to ensure nothing is catching.
8. Once cooked, remove the pan from the oven and remove the lamb shanks from the pan, discarding the Bay Leaves. Place the pan over high heat, and reduce the cooking liquid until thick, glossy, and able to coat the back of a spoon. Season to taste as needed.
TIP – If you’re not serving the dish right away, then you can keep the Lamb Shanks warm by covering in foil and placing in the oven on low heat.
9. Serve the Lamb Shanks with the Wild Garlic Salsa Verde. We served ours with wet polenta and grilled asparagus. A fabulous Spring feast!