Sunday, 18 March 2012

Lamb Shank with Garlic, Rosemary and Cannellini Beans and Crispy Parmesan Crumbs

Lamb Shank with Garlic, Rosemary and Cannellini Beans and Crispy Parmesan Crumbs
This is a delicious and flavoursome dish that can be prepared in advance, serve with crusty bread to mop up the wonderful sauce.

Serves 4
Prep time:   15 - 20 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours 15 minutes

For the lamb shanks
4 lamb shanks
6 tinned anchovies, cut into halves
12 small rosemary sprigs
12 slivers garlic
salt and freshly ground black pepper
55g/2oz butter
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 head garlic, broken up into cloves
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
½ bottle red wine
600ml/1 pint chicken or lamb stock or water
For the sauce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
115g/4oz streaky bacon lardons
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled & finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 x 375g/13oz tins cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
For the parmesan crumbs
2 tbsp olive oil
50g/2 oz white breadcrumbs
25g/1 oz parmesan, freshly grated
To serve
Crusty bread


1.  Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

2.  To make the crispy parmesan crumbs, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the breadcrumbs.  Fry for 2 – 3 minutes until golden and crunchy.  Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle over the parmesan and toss to coat the crumbs.

3.  For the lamb shanks, remove the majority of fat from the shanks. Make three deep incisions in each shank and insert in each half an anchovy wrapped around a sprig of rosemary and a slice of garlic. Season the meat with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4.  Heat the butter in a casserole, add the shanks and brown all over. Remove and set aside.  Now add the carrots, celery, leek, onions, garlic cloves and herbs to the casserole and cook over a high heat until the vegetables are browned.

5.  Deglaze the casserole by adding the red wine, scraping the residue on the bottom of the pan and stirring well.  Add the stock to the casserole, place the shanks on top of the vegetables, cover and cook in the oven for two and a half hours.

6.  When the lamb has finished cooking, remove the four shanks to a dish and keep warm. Blend the vegetables and cooking liquor in a food processor and set to one side.

7.  For the sauce, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium to high heat. Add the bacon and fry until browned. Reduce the heat and add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic.  Cook for eight minutes until the vegetables have softened then add the thyme, rosemary, tomatoes and cannellini beans. Heat through.

8.  Pass the blended lamb cooking liquor and vegetables through a strainer or fine sieve onto the bean mixture, stir together and pour over the lamb shanks.

9.  Serve the lamb garnished with the crispy parmesan crumbs and crusty bread to mop up all the fabulous flavours.

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