- 4 lamb shanks
- A bottle of good port
- 2 handfuls of prunes, pitted
- 2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
- A handful of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
- 3 leeks, roughly chopped
- 3 carrots, roughly chopped
- 3 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- A handful of cherry tomatoes
- Quinoa, cooked as per the instructions on the packet
- 3 lemons, with the zest removed. Keep the zest and the lemons. (Basically what this means is use a fine grater to remove the lemon skin. There is loads of flavour in the skin and it also adds an amazing fragrance.)
- Flour, for dusting the shanks.
- About 300ml of water
Okay, what to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius. (If you only have 3 hours, 180 degrees.) Pour some flour onto a plate and season with salt and pepper. Dip the shanks in the flour and shake off any excess. Place the shanks to one side.
2. In a deep, heavy pot brown the meat in some olive oil until they are nicely coloured. Remove and set aside.
3. Add the leeks, the carrot and the celery and fry for a few minutes until the vegetables soften. Add the garlic and the rosemary and fry for a few more minutes.
4. Add the shanks, the water, the prunes, the fresh and tinned tomatoes and the port and bring to the boil. Season generously and reduce the heat so that the liquid is gently simmering. Cover the shanks and place them in the oven. Cook for as long as possible.
5. Take the cooked quiona and stir in the juice of three lemons and the zest of two. To serve, place the quinoa in deep bowls and place a shank on top. Spoon over some of the amazing sauce and garnish with the remaining lemon zest.
I would say 3 hours is the minimun cooking time if you want this dish to really be worthwhile. The meat will be falling off the bone and the flavours will be phenomenal. As with most of my winter recipes, the longer you can cook it the better. Just reduce the heat and leave it. A nice little tip: when you are buying the shanks ask your butcher to saw off any unnecessary bone. You are paying per kilo so that weight is an extra cost for no benefit. It's a pleasure.