For luscious, meltingly tender shanks, cook these the day before then reheat before serving with the lentils and some steamed beans, if desired.
4 lamb shanks
sea salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
5 sprigs thyme
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 anchovies, drained and chopped
1½ cups red wine
1 cup lamb stock
400 ml tomato passata
400-gram tin cherry tomatoes
2 cups puy lentils, rinsed
1 bay leaf
finely grated zest 1 lemon
⅔ cup purchased caramelised onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Lamb shanks: Season the lamb well with salt and pepper. Heat half of the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed ovenproof pot and sear the lamb shanks for a few minutes on all sides. Remove from the pot and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the pot, heat, then add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Season well with salt and pepper and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Add the thyme, chilli flakes, bay leaf, tomato paste, anchovies, red wine, lamb stock and passata. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
Return the lamb shanks to the pot, cover, and cook in the oven for 3 hours. Remove the lid, turn the shanks, add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 2 hours until the meat is falling off the bone.
At this point I prefer to chill the lamb in the pot overnight. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before serving, discard the solidified fat and reheat in the oven at 170°C for 1 hour.
Lentils: Place the lentils in a pot and cover with at least 6cm of water. Add the bay leaf and lemon zest and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 16-20 minutes until just cooked through. Drain well, stir through the vinegar, caramelised onions and parsley. Season well with salt and pepper.
To serve: Serve the lamb shanks with the lentils.