With colder weather on the way, melt-in-your-mouth lamb shanks come to mind.
These can be cooked with a tomato-wine base or a tomato-balsamic base. No matter what the flavours, lamb shanks on a wintry evening are always special.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2.5-3 hours
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 lamb shanks
1 large brown onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced into rounds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1/4 butternut pumpkin, cut into 3x3cm cubes
100 ml balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
2 x 400g cans mixed beans, drained
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Polenta or mashed potatoes, to serve
1) Preheat the oven to 150° C fan-forced. Heat the oil on medium heat on the stove in a large casserole dish, season with salt and pepper and brown the lamb shanks all over. This may take two batches, depending on the size of the shanks and the casserole dish. Remove and set aside.
Add the onion, carrots and garlic to the casserole dish. Cook gently until softened on medium heat.
2) Place the lamb shanks back into the casserole dish and add the tomatoes, pumpkin and balsamic vinegar. Give the mixture a good stir until it is combined well. Add the bay leaves.
Bring to a simmer and then place the lid on the dish. Leave on the stove and cook for another 5 minutes.
3) Transfer the casserole dish to the oven and cook for 2 hours, or until the lamb shanks are nearly tender.
4) Now remove the casserole from the oven and add the mixed beans. Stir well. Place the lid back onto the dish and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
5) Remove the casserole from the oven. Place 1-2 shanks per plate with plenty of sauce and sprinkled with parsley.