My ex MIL was the first person, some 20 years ago to introduce me to the wonder that is lamb shanks. When I started buying them, this cut was much maligned and I usually purchased them in the Pet Food section for about $2 for 6. They now weigh in at about $3 each. Google "Lamb Shank Recipes" and you'll get about 172,000 hits, so wide is the popularity of these scrummy morsels.
With 7 mouths to feed, and each of the boys able to eat their body weight in shanks, this once-common recipe at The House of Fur and Purple Love, is now, sadly, a rarity. But I make the recipe as such that I can get about 4 nights of differing dishes out of it.
PG's Lamb Shanks.
2 shanks per person. Place lamb shanks on a baking rack over a tray and bake off in a hot oven for about 15mins, until browned. Set aside. Using the rendered fat in the tray to cook off some onion, celery, diced carrot, parsnips and garlic in a large saucepan. Cook until onion is glassy. Deglaze pan with 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and a splash of balsamic syrup. Return shanks to pot and add 500mls red wine, 500mls chicken stock, 750mls tomato sugo. Cook covered over lowest heat possible for at least three hours, stirring occasionally. 1/2 way through cooking add a bouquet garni, or random handfuls of Italian herbs.
GO EASY ON THE ROSEMARY, AS IT IS EASY TO OVERPOWER ALL THE OTHER FLAVOURS.
Dish is ready when the lamb is sliding off the bone
Just before serving, add a goodly splash of Worcestershire sauce.
Serve on a bed of mash,topped with some flat leaf parsley for warming wintry goodness.
If you've cooked like I do, and have enough left over to solve the hunger crisis in Sudan, here's how to max out this recipe... if you've paid $3.00 each for a shank, you want to get the best bang for your buck.
The next night, add some beef stock, some cannelli beans and some more sugo (you are looking for a thick broth consistency). You can add some Tabasco at this point, serve it with warmed tortillas and a handful of corn chips, and call it "Mexican Lamb Broth" or serve it with crusty ciabatta and call it "Italian Lamb Broth" (I often divide the left overs into 2 lots and do both, freezing one portion for another day. )
If you go the Italian option, you can get another days meal out of it. Bring any remaining broth to the boil and add a knob of butter, some semi sun-dried tommies and some arborio rice... I know this will have the Risotto Nazi's out there swooning into their "blood temperature chicken stock added ladle by ladle", but I gots a fam of 7 to feed. BITE ME.
Stir constantly until the rice is tender and the liquid absorbed, call it "Italian Lamb Risotto" and top it with shaved Parmesan
OR.... DON'T add the Parmesan, add a handful of black olives, some crumbled fetta and top it with a goodly dollop tzatziki and call it "Greek Risotto"
And if there's any of the bloody stuff left over the next night, I like to roll the mix into good sized balls, dip in an egg wash and roll in breadcrumbs and deep fry. Serve on a bed of rocket and call them "Arancini's"