Lamb Shanks In Tomato Sauce
Made In an Electric Slow Cooker
Adapted from The Gourmet Slow Cooker by Lynn Alley. Copyright © 2003. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. www.tenspeed.com
- Total Cooking Time: 6 to 8 hours in a slow cooker.
- Servings: 4.
This recipe is adapted from one in Lynn Alley's wonderful cookbook, The Gourmet Slow Cooker.
In addition to changing the spices from whole form to ground (which are more likely for a home cook to have on hand), I've added garlic which is often found in traditional Greek flavors. Instead of buying puréed tomatoes, I used a 14 oz. can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, which I think have the best flavor, and puréed them myself using an emersion blender.
Lamb shanks can sometimes be very large. If you're cooking really big ones, double the amount of crushed tomatoes so that there's generous liquid in the pot to cook the lamb and add slightly more spices to make sure you're not diluting the flavor by increasing the tomatoes.
This dish is wonderful with traditional Greek lemon potatoes or with couscous and a green vegetable.
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A pinch of ground cloves (about 1/16 teaspoon)
- A pinch of ground allspice (about 1/16 teaspoon)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 lamb shanks
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced (to make 1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
- 2 cups tomato purée or crushed tomatoes (one 14 oz. can)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Combine the ground cinnamon, cloves and allspice in a small dish and hold aside.
- In a large sauté pan or skillet, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and heat over medium high heat so that it is very hot but not smoking.
- Salt and pepper the lamb shanks and brown them on all sides. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes. Because of the shape of a lamb shank, you won't get every surface browned but try to get a nice surface on the largest sides of the shanks. When browned, transfer to your slow cooker.
- Using the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon olive oil, and heat over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until softened and slightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and combine with the onions until the garlic begins to be fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Sprinkle the spice mixture over the onions and garlic. Stir to coat.
- Add the brandy or cognac to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits in the pan as the brandy cooks off.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and combine with the other ingredients.
- Remove from the heat and pour the tomato-onion mixture over the lamb shanks.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. About half-way through, check the shanks to be sure they are not sticking to the bottom and that the sauce is well dispersed around the meat. Cook until the meat is completely tender and coming away from the bone.