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Well it’s heading into that time of year again folks! Cosy fires, ugg boots,  red wine, red wine braised lamb shanks, more red wine……..These delicious babies are cooked long and slow, with the traditional lamb flavours of rosemary, thyme and yep……..red wine.  Topped with a zesty orange gremolata and served on a bed of parmesan and olive oil mash, this little preview to winter is looking very inviting indeed!

Serves 4

4 tbs of olive oil
4 of the meatiest lamb shanks you can find
3 tbs of plain flour
1 leek, washed, halved and sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 large brown onion, finely diced
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 tsp of black peppercorns
500ml of good red wine
500ml of beef stock (low sodium preferably)
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

For the Spuds

1kg of potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
20gm of butter
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of milk
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

For the Gremolata

1 cup of continental parsley leaves
1 garlic clove
Rind of 1 orange

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Heat a large oven proof casserole dish or pan to a medium heat.  Coat the lamb shanks in seasoned flour and shake off any excess.  Add the olive oil to the pan and brown the shanks on all sides.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add a little more olive oil if necessary.  Lightly fry the leek and onion until soft and add the peppercorns, garlic, carrot and celery.  Sauté until the veggies are soft and have a nice golden, caramelised look about them.  Don’t worry if there are bits stuck on the bottom, it is all flavour.  Tie your bay leaves, thyme and rosemary together in a little bundle with a piece of kitchen string and add to the pan. Continue to fry until your herbs start to go a nice deep green colour.

Pour in the red wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all those bits off the bottom.  Add the beef stock and stir well before popping in the lamb shanks.  Move them around and scoop the sauce over them so they are as well covered as possible.  Tear off a piece of baking paper and tuck it in and around the lamb shanks so they are all cosy.  Place a lid on the dish or cover tightly with foil and pop in the oven for 2 hours, checking and turning and scooping sauce over every 45 minutes or so.

While the shanks are cooking, boil the spuds until tender.  Drain and pop back on a low heat before mashing until smooth and stirring in rigorously the butter, olive oil, milk and parmesan.  season with salt and pepper to taste.

Finely chop the parsley and garlic together and grate over the orange zest.  Chop  a little more to release all the oils and flavour in the orange zest.

To plate up the shanks divide the potato between four large serving plates.  Squash the centre of the potato with the back of a spoon to make a little well in the centre.  Place a lamb shank in each well, discard the herb bundle and spoon over the lovely, rich sauce.  Sprinkle the gremolata over the top and serve with steamed broccolini.

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