Easy slow cook lamb shanks

I've made a lot of lamb shanks, stewed, braised, with red wine, white wine, stout, Indian inspired with cardamons and cannelloni beans. Most required quite a number of ingredients to flavor. It takes a lot of patience to cook shanks but then I love how much ease it takes to make and the freedom it gives you after that. Every time I lifted the cover, the flavor grows more intense. The smell of meat, onions, wine filled the house, all so comforting. I watched FoodNetwork, Fb, read and tried to write. 

I hadn't been making shanks for quite a while. One, it's a relatively expensive nowadays. Two, it's not conveniently found. Three, the chore of chopping, cutting to put all the ingredients together. Then again, even small indian restaurants serve it over brayani, i am referring to those very local eateries at Little India and Arab Street, it mustn't be too expensive but just knowing where to find and buy direct. Again to a trip to trusty Mustafa.

Finding a huge retro slow cooker hidden behind the stacks of plates and bowls in the cabinets like a domant creature the other day while clearing out. I supposed it's one of those pots that my mom bought when she's much younger assuming one day she'll use it to cook something sumptuous for the kids. A mommy's kind of dish or soup that unfortunately never happened. It might even belong to my grandmother who never cooks as well but like to collect kitchenware. Danish floral design popular in the 70s and 80s, It looks very retro and pretty. The best part It is almost new. I promised myself to give the cooker its well deserve glory and hopefully to pass to my kids one day like a heirloom. 

This recipe is tremendously easy. With just a few ingredients, and doesn't call for heaps of vegetables to flavor the sauce. Lamb shanks that are slowly simmered with lots of wine, balsamic and tomatoes. Super easy. Prepping take an hour and after 24 hours you be lifting the lid to soothing, rich and robust shanks that melts away in the mouth.

In 10 minutes, the shanks are gone, but the aroma still lingers in the air. Moving over to the sofa and tele, totally contented. Inca happily finishing up the last bits to the bone.

4 large lamb shanks
plain flour
olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
4 red onions, thinly sliced
10 shallots
1 whole garlic head, breaking to half, roughly chop half and leave other whole
100 mL balsamic vinegar
500 mL red wine, a full bodied merlot
2 tablespoon tomato paste or 1 can tomato 
a sprig of rosemary
2 large sprig thyme
2 bay leaves

Heat a large heavy based pan with butter, Add the onions and sugar, cook for 5 mins and add the chopped garlic, continue cooking until onion are soft and caramelized then scoop out. Dust the lamb shanks with flour and season with salt and pepper, add olive oil to the pan and brown the shanks. Remove the shanks and place it into the slow cooker pot.

Return the onions to the pan and deglaze with tomato paste, red wine and balsamic. Bring to boil, add the garlic and herbs. Pour broth over the shanks into the slow cooker. Season slightly.

Let stew for 6 hours until the meat is almost failing off the bone. Tranfer the pot and refrigerate over night. 

2 hours before dinner, remove the layer of fat that accumulates on the pot, place the pot back on the slow cooker and cook for an hour. Remove the shanks and keep warm. Strain sauce and reduce the juice to thicken. Add a tablespoon of butter to finish the sauce. The sauce should be thick and glistening coating the back of the ladle. It should be very flavorful, season to taste.

Place lamb shanks over a plate of potatoes or mash and ladle gravy over. Finish with a sprinkle of parsley or better still some fresh mint. 
Inca with the bone.
Till next post, ss.

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