Lamb Shanks by Yael Shochat of Ima Cuisine
I like to serve this with polenta, rocket, and parmesan, but you can also serve it with mashed potato or another preferred side.
5 hours total / Serves 6
- 2 cups dried white beans (such as cannellini)
- 1 onion cut in half
- 2 cloves garlic unpeeled
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 2 x 400g cans cooked beans
- 10 or 15 medium ripe tomatoes
- 6 whole heads of garlic
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp flaky salt
- 6 medium-sized lamb shanks, around 2kg total
- 2 cups red wine
- One small handful fresh thyme sprigs or 2 Tbsp dried thyme
- 4 cups soft-cooked polenta or mashed potatoes, 200g rocket, and 50g flaked parmesan, to serve
If using dried beans, soak the beans in a bowl of cold water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans, and place in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover by an inch. If using the aromatics (onion, garlic, and bay), add these to the saucepan, but do not add any salt. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until cooked. Depending on the age of your beans this can take from 1.5 to 2.5 hours, so check them after 90 minutes then at regular intervals afterwards until tender. You may also need to top up the water to keep it an inch above the beans. Once the beans are cooked, remove from the heat, and reserve half a cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the beans, and set aside. You can discard the aromatics.
If using canned beans, reserve half a cup of the bean liquid, then drain the beans.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Place the tomatoes and whole heads of garlic (unpeeled) into a large baking tray and drizzle with the quarter cup of olive oil (reserve the rest) and the salt. Bake for around 30-40 minutes, until the garlic is soft and the tomato skins are easy to peel, then remove the pan and reduce the oven heat to 140 degrees. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the tomato skins, and squeeze the garlic from the peel. Mix the tomatoes and garlic together and set aside.
Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan on high heat. Sear the lamb shanks until browned on all sides, cooking in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding the pan. Set the lamb aside. Reduce the heat to medium and pour the red wine into the pan, being careful as it may spit a little. Let the wine simmer until reduced by half, stirring along the bottom to deglaze the pan and bring up all the little cooked bits of lamb into the wine. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Stir the beans, reserved liquid, and tomato and garlic together in a large roasting dish. Nestle the lamb shanks on top, pour over the reduced red wine, and sprinkle with the thyme. Cover the dish with either a tight-fitting lid, or a layer of baking paper then a double layer of foil sealed tightly. Roast at 140 degrees for three and a half hours, until the lamb is falling from the bone.
After cooking, discard the thyme sprigs if using. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed. To plate, start with a bed of soft polenta or mashed potatoes. Spoon the beans, garlic, tomatoes, and juices on top. Scatter the rocket and parmesan shavings around the perimeter and finish with the lamb in the middle.