Braised lamb shanks with soft polenta
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tamara West
This is the perfect time of year to enjoy these nourishing melt-in-the-mouth shanks. Teach the kids the basic steps of browning or caramelising the meat all over, and then the vegetables, to bring out and develop the depth of flavour in this dish. Once they eat it they will understand that the long, slow cooking is what produces the tender meat.
I tried polenta for the first time on a freezing cold night at a restaurant high up on a hill above Lake Como in Italy that we had to trek 20 minutes to get to. The cooked polenta was just poured on a wooden board and served with a long wooden knife. It is soft, hot and cheesy — perfect food for kids.
Braised lamb shanks
|3 Tbsp||Rice bran oil|
|½ cup||Carrot, diced|
|½ cup||Celery, diced|
|½ cup||Onion, diced|
|2 cloves||Garlic, chopped|
|1 cup||White wine|
|1 can||Chopped tomatoes|
|1 Ltr||Lamb stock, or chicken stock|
|1 sprig||Fresh rosemary|
|4 sprigs||Fresh thyme|
|¼ tsp||Black peppercorns|
|1 piece||Muslin, in a small square|
Braised lamb shanks
- Heat the oven to 150C. In a large casserole dish heat the oil until hot. Season the shanks with salt then fry until golden brown and caramelised all over. Take out and keep on the side.
- Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic to the casserole dish and fry until lightly caramelised.
- Add the wine and boil until reduced by half. Then add the tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Place the shanks back in to the casserole dish.
- Make a bouquet garni by placing rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns on the muslin and tie the corners to form a parcel.
- Add to the casserole, cover with a lid and bake in the oven for 3 hours.
- Carefully remove shanks and keep hot. Boil the cooking liquid until it has reduced down to a thick sauce. Serve the shanks on top of soft polenta and ladle over the hot sauce.
- Bring milk, water and salt to the boil in a large saucepan. Sprinkle in the polenta while whisking.
- Keep stirring as it begins to thicken, cook for 5 minutes.
- Mix in the cheese, butter and olive oil, and serve while hot and soft.