Braised lamb shanks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
4 - 6 lamb shanks
1 large white onion diced
6 cloves garlic minced
2 large carrots sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups red wine like Merlot Pinot Noir, or a Chianti -- optional. Substitute with extra stock).
14 oz (400 g) passata (tomato puree or American tomato sauce)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 beef bouillon cubes crushed
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped (divided)
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to season
Preheat oven to 175°C
Wash and pat dry lamb shanks with paper towel.
Transfer to a plate, tent with foil to keep warm, set aside.Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy based pot over medium-high heat. Sear two shanks in the hot oil until browned on all sides. Repeat with remaining shanks and oil.
To the pan juices, sauté the carrots and diced onions until softened, (about 3 minutes), then add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Return the shanks back into the pot; season with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Sprinkle with flour, toss well and cook for 4-5 minutes to brown the flour.
Add stock, wine, puree, tomato paste, bouillon and herbs. Bring to a simmer on the stove.
Cover, transfer to lower part of the oven and cook for 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is fall apart tender (adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly).
Gently transfer the shanks onto a plate; tent to keep warm.
OPTIONAL: skim off any additional fat which rises to the surface.Discard the bay leaves from the sauce and place pot onto stove. Simmer sauce over medium heat until thickened to your desired consistency.
*If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock. If the sauce is too thin, boil it over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until reduced to the right consistency. (See notes about thickening.)You should be left with about 3 cups of sauce thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon.
Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper, if desired. Add the shanks back into the pot of sauce.
Garnish with parsley and serve with mashed potatoes, rice or pasta.
The day of serving, remove from refrigerator for at least an hour before reheating. Place over medium-low heat and let simmer gently for about 10 - 15 minutes, basting the shanks and vegetables with the sauce.To serve the following day, allow the casserole to cool completely, cover and refrigerate.