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If, like me, you’re in the midst of planning Christmas dinner and don’t want to serve up the customary turkey for the umpteenth time in as many years, mix it up a little and go for lamb. The lamb shank in particular is full of flavour and beautifully tender after some slow cooking. It takes very little preparation and is an affordable option if you’re cooking for a few people. One shank will provide a generous portion for one person so is ideal for the Christmas table.

For a satisfying winter meal, lamb shanks are absolutely delicious served with creamy mashed potato and some roasted root vegetables. However, I prefer the combination of the soft, melt-in-the-mouth meat with some crisp and fluffy roasties.

By cooking the shanks together with the other ingredients you’ll create a lovely unctuous gravy, full of meaty, robust flavour. Compliment the meal with a full bodied red wine for a real luxurious dinner.


Ingredients (serves 2)

2 lamb shanks
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 large onion, sliced
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
500ml of chicken stock
1/2 glass red wine
1 bulb of garlic
1 sprig rosemary
1 small bunch of fresh mint
Salt and pepper
A little oil for frying


Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Heat the oil in a pan over a high heat and brown the lamb on all sides until evenly coloured. Remove from the pan and place in a deep ovenproof dish.

Add the vegetables and garlic to the pan and gently cook for a few minutes until they begin to brown slightly. Stir in the herbs and then transfer everything to the ovenproof dish with the lamb.

De-glaze the pan by adding the wine and the stock, so that all the meat and vegetable juices are absorbed. Simmer for a couple of minutes before pouring the liquid over the lamb and vegetables.

Season to taste and cook in the oven for 1½ - 2 hours or until the meat starts to fall off the bone.

Remove the lamb from the dish and strain the liquid through a sieve and into a pan to make the lovely gravy. Heat for a minute or two, thickening with a little corn flour if desired. Place each shank on the plate and drizzle with the gravy. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes or crispy roasties.