Braised Lamb Shanks

This is one of my favourite winter recipes when the temperatures get really chilly, as they did last weekend. Tender lamb, falling off the bone in a rich and tasty sauce of vegetables, wine and seasonings. Who can resist?

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 lamb shanks, about 400g each
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 large red onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 bottle dry rosé wine
1 litre beef stock, heated
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

1. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy based lidded saucepan or flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. Add the shanks and brown on all sides – this will take about 5 minutes. Remove to a large plate and set aside.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the finely chopped carrots, celery and onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the chopped garlic and cook a further 1 minute.
5. Add the tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf and anchovies and cook a further 2 minutes.
6. Add the wine, vinegar and sugar, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
7. Add the hot stock followed by the browned lamb shanks. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours, turning the shanks every 30 minutes or so.
8. Remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the meat is very tender.
9. Serve the lamb shanks on a bed of mashed potatoes with the sauce spooned over.

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