Slowly does it for lamb shanks

22:50, Jul 23 2013
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MELLOWING OUT: Don't be alarmed at the large quantity of garlic in these lemon and garlic lamb shanks.

There is something about lamb shanks, braised until the tender and delicious meat is falling from the bones, that really gets our mouths watering.

We are pretty sure we are not alone with this passion, because in the past few years the price of lamb shanks seems to have gone through the roof (impressive for a cut of meat that Alison can remember being almost given away).

Regardless of whether or not you're a long-time shank fan, or a comparative novice, we're sure you'll enjoy this dish, and it makes a nice occasional treat. (Don't be alarmed by the amount of garlic in this recipe – when it is pre-cooked whole like this it has quite a mild flavour.)

Lemon & Garlic Lamb Shanks

For 4 servings:

2-3 Tbsp olive or canola oil


4 lamb shanks

1 whole head of garlic (about 12 cloves)

1 large onion, quartered and sliced

1/2 cup dry red wine

400g can diced tomatoes in juice

1 tsp thyme

1/2-1 tsp salt

2 lemons

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy casserole dish. Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides then remove and set aside. While the shanks brown, slice the top off the head of garlic so most cloves have their tips removed, wrap it loosely in baking paper and microwave on high for 2 minutes then leave to cool.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the casserole if it looks dry, then stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and begins to brown. Stir in the wine, tomatoes and juice, the herbs and salt.

Wash the lemons in hot water, then cut lengthways into sixths, discarding as many pips as you can. Separate the head of garlic into individual cloves and remove the papery skins. Add the shanks, lemon wedges and garlic cloves to the casserole and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, cover tightly then transfer to the oven and cook at 150 degrees Celsius for 1 1/2 hours or until lamb is very tender.

Serve with lightly buttered pasta or perhaps better still creamy mashed potatoes and whatever lightly cooked seasonal vegetables you have on hand. Enjoy.

The Dominion Post