Throughout the world the most popular Easter symbol is the lamb. The tradition of eating lamb at Easter has its roots in early Passover observances before the birth of Christianity. I love this lamb dish because it basically cooks itself, has mouth-watering flavours and fills the kitchen with wonderful aromas. Cooked until they are fall-apart tender, slow braised lamb shanks make a delicious and hearty meal.
Makes 4 servings
- 4 lamb shanks (about 1 1/2 kgs)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 litres chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 small fresh rosemary sprig
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
Preheat oven to 180°C. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook for about 6 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium.
Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to casserole dish. Cook for about 10 minutes until golden. Increase heat to high. Add red wine and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 5 minutes until reduced by two thirds.
Add broth and lamb to casserole dish. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, firmly tie together bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme with string; add to casserole. Cover and bake in the hot oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until lamb is tender.
Remove lamb from casserole dish. Strain out vegetables and discard them, saving the liquid. Return liquid to casserole dish, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook for about 20 minutes until reduced to 1 to 1 1/2 cups.
Return lamb to the reduced braising liquid and keep warm until serving. Spoon sauce over lamb and serve with your favorite roast vegetables.