SMOKED LAMB SHANKS & CHEESY POLENTA

SMOKED LAMB SHANKS & CHEESY POLENTA

SERVES 2
TAKES 8 HOURS

Description

The lamb shank, from the end of the leg, needs braising and merits the low and slow treatment to enjoy the soft texture of the meat falling off the bone. We lightly smoked the shanks in this recipe to deepen the richer flavour of the winter lamb. We hope to make smoked shanks a regular feature in our counters soon, but if you can't get a hold of them directly, unsmoked lamb shanks will work a treat too with the creamy cheesy polenta. See our top tip at the end of the recipe if you don't own a slow cooker. 

As with any wine used in cooking, select something you think you'll enjoy drinking with the dish too. You only need 200 ml here, so the rest will invariably find a home in one of your wine glasses. 

Method

1. Set your slow cooker to low. Set a skillet or wide frying pan on a medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil, when almost smoking carefully place the shanks into the pan and fry until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan and place into the slow cooker.

2. Fry the diced onion in the residual fat from the lamb shanks for 3 minutes until softened and golden, add in the garlic and continue to fry for another 2 minutes. Tip the onion and garlic mix into the slow cooker with the browned shanks.

3. Squeeze the tomato puree into the slow cooker mix, along with the tinned tomatoes, bay leaves, red wine, brown sugar and salt and pepper. Give everything a stir then pour in the chicken or vegetable stock.

4. Pop the lid on and cook low and slow for 8 hours or until the meat is almost falling off the bone.

5. One hour before the shanks have finished cooking, you can start on the cheesy polenta. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil, then start to pour in the polenta, constantly whisking the water as you pour. Continue stirring for a few minutes to stop any lumps forming then turn down the heat to low and continue to cook for a further 45 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until the polenta has absorbed all the water and has a smooth texture.

6. Stir through the grated cheese and finish with a knob of butter to slowly melt into the now cheesy polenta.

7. Spoon a generous portion of the polenta into a shallow bowl and top with a lamb shank, pour over some of those wonderful cooking juices as this will act as a lovely jus. Serve with steamed veg and a glass of hearty red wine. Enjoy!

Top tip! If you don't have a slow cooker, take out your best cast iron casserole or favourite stew pot and brown the shanks directly in the casserole. Remove the shanks to a plate, and continue with step 2 in the casserole before adding back the shanks with their juices and the ingredients in step 3. Give it all a good stir to blend and bring to a soft bubble over a medium-high heat, before popping on a tight-fitting lid and tucking into your pre-heated oven at 140 C for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes or until the meat is starting to fall off the bone.

 

Ingredients

For the Lamb Shanks
• Olive Oil
• 2 Smoked lamb shanks (unsmoked is also fine)
• 1 white onion, diced
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• 1 tbsp tomato puree
• 1 tin of tomatoes
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• 200ml red wine
• 300ml chicken or vegetable stock
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp pepper

For the Cheesy Polenta
• 200g Polenta
• 800ml water
• 150g parmesan or pecorino, grated
• 1 knob of butter
• Salt to taste