I wanted something that was slow cooked, preferably oven baked and something saucy. I remembered years ago I made this recipe, so I thought I'd revisit it and see if we still love it. Well we did.
The meat was soft, falling off the bone, delicious. The sauce was rich and delicious. The polenta a perfect accompaniment.
The reason I love oven bake stews is that once you do the initial prep work, you place it in the oven and you don't have to do anything else. Well here after one hour you just remove the lid and turn the shanks over, that's it.
In this recipe the shanks are not completely submerged in the liquid, so they get a little roasted feel to the outer skin which is magnificent. That is why you turn the meat after one hour, to ensure all the meat gets submerged in the stew during the cooking process.
This would be a great dinner party recipe as it is quick to assemble, then all the cooking is done in the oven while you hang out with your guests. The hardest part is the polenta. I call my teenage kids into the kitchen for this and we take turns stirring it, as it is an arm workout.
The original recipe used dried beans, this is what you would do if using dried beans
½ cup (100g) dried haricot or cannellini beans
½ cup (100g) dried borlotti beans
Place beans in large bowl, cover with water, stand overnight. Rinse under cold water; drain. Place beans in medium saucepan, cover with boiling water; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until beans are just tender. Drain. Then proceed with recipe.
This is so easy to make and the end result not only looks amazing, it tastes amazing.
400g tin cannellini beans
400g tin borlotti beans
6-8 (2kg) french-trimmed lamb shanks
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large (200g) brown onion, chopped coarsely
1 medium (120g) carrot, chopped coarsely
1 trimmed (100g) celery stalk, chopped coarsely
1 fresh long red chilli, chopped finely
8 drained anchovies in oil, chopped
¼ cup (60ml) balsamic vinegar
425g can crushed tomatoes
½ cup (125ml) dry white wine
1 cup (250ml) water
1/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
3 cups (750ml) water
2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock
2 cups (340g) polenta
1 cup (250ml) milk
¼ cup (20g) finely grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced.
Toss lamb in flour; shake away excess. Heat oil in large flameproof casserole dish; cook lamb, in batches, until browned.
Cook onion, carrot, celery, chilli and anchovies in same dish, stirring, 5 minutes or until onion softens.
Return lamb to dish with beans, vinegar, undrained tomatoes, wine and the water; bring to the boil. Cook ragu, covered, in oven 1 hour. Uncover; turn the shanks over, cook a further 1 hour or until meat is almost falling off the bone.
Make the polenta once the lamb is cooked, the lamb can be left in the oven while you do this:
Combine the water and stock in large saucepan; bring to the boil.
Gradually add polenta to liquid, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring, about 10 minutes or until polenta thickens.
Add milk and cheese; stir until cheese melts.
Serve the lamb shanks and ragu over the soft polenta. Sprinkle over parsley just before serving.
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