In the winter nothing is better than a braise or a stew. Lamb shanks are the perfect choice for such a dish. With a long, slow braise the meat becomes tender and begins to fall off the bone and it is the perfect thing to prep quickly and leave simmering on the stove all day. It is this type of food that gastro pubs make so well but it is just as easy to make at home.
Here I am using a recipe in a old gastro book.My only amendment to this recipe was the addition of the Guinness. The hard cider I used (Aspall Cider) left me with a sauce that was a bit sweeter than I like and there seemed to be a depth of flavor missing that I wanted. Two bottles of Guinness later (into the pot not into me) I had what I wanted—Autumnal comfort food. Heaven on a plate. Really really dynamite! You will have to check the sauce and see if the Guinness would be right for your tastes. I also added copious amounts of black pepper. Again, your call.
100g kosher/sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
(I think I added at least a teaspoon more, maybe even 2)
2 lamb shanks
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cups Spanish onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bottle cider
1-2 bottles of Guinness Stout, optional and to taste
1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus 1/2 teaspoon chopped, divided
3 firm tart apples, such as Granny Smith, Ida Red or Cortland, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
1.Rub salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper onto lamb shanks. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge the lamb in the flour to lightly coat on all sides. Tap off any excess flour.
2.Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
3.Turn heat down to medium and add celery, onion and carrots to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning, until the vegetables have softened.Add flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.Add rosemary sprig.Pour in the cider and scrape any browned pieces of the bottom of the pan, allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.
4.Return the lamb and any accumulated juices to the pan. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and simmer, checking every 45 minutes to make sure the meat side of the shank is mostly submerged in the cooking liquid, until the lamb is fork- tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours total.
5.Transfer the lamb to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
6.Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes. (This is the point at which you should taste and decide whether or not to add the Guinness). Stir in apples and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender (but not falling apart), 10 to 15 minutes more. Return the lamb to the pan, turn to coat with sauce and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprig. Serve the lamb with the sauce.
Enjoy with a pint of Guiness or favourite red wine.