The weather is cooling a little in Sydney and slow baked lamb shanks and polenta is the perfect comfort food for a dinner or lunch. Cooking the lamb slowly will make it tender and falling off the bone and the rich sauce will be perfect with the polenta. Accompanied by a salad of mixed leaves and radicchio to cleanse the palate, this is a flavourful meal. I have included two ways of cooking the polenta. The oven method is easy and involves less time stirring but if you have the energy while the lamb is baking, making polenta the traditional way is so satisfying.
Slow Baked Lamb Shanks and Polenta
- 4 lamb shanks
- 3 large garlic cloves with the skin on
- 2 Tblsp olive oil
- small knob of butter
- 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup red wine
- Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbls heaped tomato paste
- salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tblsp of rosemary finely chopped
- 2 cups of polenta (coarse corn meal)
- 2 L water
- 2 tsp salt
- Pre-heat oven to 150 C F
- Place shanks on a plate then season with salt flakes and freshly ground pepper, tun then season the other side. Set aside for a couple of minutes.
- Using a large saucepan place the olive oil and the knob of butter over a high heat and when oil is hot sear the lamb shanks on both sides till well browned. Set aside and cover loosely with foil
- Lower the heat to medium-low and add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan juices and cook for 8 minutes till well softened
- Stir through the tomato paste and cook for a minute
- Add the red wine and bring to the boil then lower the heat to medium and allow the liquid to reduce for about 5 minutes.
- Add the stock, rosemary, garlic with the skins on, a good dash or two of Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and bring to the boil
- Place the lamb shanks into a stainless steel baking dish and pour over sauce, spooning it well over the shanks and cover with foil.
- Bake at 150 C for 2 hours
- Turn the shanks ladling over the sauce and bake for a further 1 hour
- Then uncover the pan ladle some liquid over the shanks, cover again, reduce the heat to 140 C and bake for 30 minutes more
- Take the shanks out of the baking dish and rest in a serving dish covered with foil
- Push all the vegetables and pan juices through a sieve or process with a mouli to make a thickened sauce and pour over the shanks
Serve with polenta and a mixed green salad of radicchio, lettuce and rocket.
Whichever method you choose to make your polenta you may stop the cooking process at the consistency that you prefer.
On the Stove top
- In a large pot heat the water and when the water boils ad the salt and dissolve
- Using a whisk to stir, pour in the polenta whisking briskly till it is well combined.
- Put a lid on the pot and wait until the polenta is thickened a little and the mixture has stopped spattering.
- Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon for 40- 45 minutes depending on the consistency you prefer
- When cooked, turn out the polenta onto a wooden board
- Boil 2 L of water
- Place Water into a large pyrex baking dish with the capacity to hold 2 L with room to spare
- Dissolve the salt, stirring well
- Whisk in the polenta
- Cover the dish with a lid and cook stirring the polenta every 15 minutes for 1 hour ((stir 3 times in the hour)
- After an hour the polenta should be cooked. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes
- It can then be served from the baking dish
Growing your ingredients: