One Pot Dinners: Braised Lamb Shanks with Rosemary and Cannellini Beans
2 lamb shanks
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 sprigs rosemary
1 heaped tbsp. tomato puree
1 bay leaf
150ml white wine
600ml chicken stock
1 tin cannellini beans
salt and pepper
For the Gremolata:
1 clove garlic
zest and juice of 1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 120c/ gas 1.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in an oven-proof casserole pan (preferably one with a lid) on a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the shanks and brown them thoroughly on every side.
As the meat browns, roughly chop the onion and garlic.
Once thoroughly browned, removed the meat from the pan and place to one side on a plate. Add more oil to the pan, if necessary, and turn the heat down before adding the onions (not the garlic yet). Move the onions around to scrape up any bits of meat stuck to the pan, and to stop them colouring too quickly.
Once then onions have started to soften and caramelise, add the garlic and leave the mix to cook for a couple of minutes.
Roughly chop the rosemary, then add it to the pan along with the cumin seeds and bay leaf. Continue to cook until fragrant.
Turn up the heat a little then pour in the wine and the tomato puree. Allow the mixture to come to a rapid bubble for a couple of minutes then re-add the lamb shanks. Give the meat and good grinding of salt and fresh black pepper before covering with the chicken stock until the meat is almost covered. Add a bit of water if necessary.
Turn up the heat to high and allow the sauce to come to a boil. Meanwhile, make a cartouche for your pan. To do this, you need a sheet of baking paper which is roughly the size of your pan. Cut it to a round which is just bigger than the circumference of your pan. Scrunch it up then flatten it out and lay it over the surface of your meaty sauce.
Once the mixture has come to the boil, turn off the heat, pop the lid on over the top of your cartouche and place the whole thing in the oven.
Cook the meat for 2 ½ – 3 hours until it is tender and falling off the bone. Halfway through cooking, check on it and turn the shanks over to help them cook evenly.
Once the meat is tender, remove from the oven and skim the oily layer of fat off the top and discard.
Remove the meat and the bay leaf from the sauce and place it over a high heat. Bring it to the boil and reduce the sauce for 10 minutes or so until it becomes glossy and coats the back of a spoon.
Drain the beans then add them to your reduced sauce, along with the meat. Pop the lid back on and leave the whole thing to simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the beans are heated thoroughly.
Serve with the gremolata (below) and a crisp green salad. Leftovers will keep for 3 days in the fridge or can be frozen.
For the gremolata:
Pick the leaves from the parsley. You are aiming for a pile of picked leaves which fills your cupped hands.
Finely chop the parsley leaves and add them to a small bowl with the lemon zest and a clove of grated garlic.
Squeeze over the juice of half the lemon and add approx. 2 tbsp olive oil. Stir to combine and season with a little salt and a lot of pepper. It should taste fiercely of lemon, raw garlic and parsley so add a little more here and there if necessary until it has a punch you’re happy with. Don’t over do it on the salt here because it is meant to be an sharp zippiness to cut through the rich, savoury sauce.