Lamb Shanks braised in Carmenère with tomato & olives
Our favourite English mum is back – and shock horror she is using one of our lovely Carmenère’s for the base sauce of these fabulous braised lamb shanks. Now if you get your hands on a good Carmenère like this one you might think it’s too good to be cooking with. Just sure to keep enough to enjoy with your food! Enjoy the long weekend
Recently, lovely Curious Matt and I got to talking about Chile. I told him I was researching an article on Chilean food in the wake of the spectacular miners’ rescue and that, frankly, I was struggling for inspiration. Certainly steak is big in Chile, then there’s the odd empanada and some decent seafood by the coast, but all in all, Chile is not famed for its cuisine.
Luckily, then, Matt pointed out that even if the food’s not famous, the wine certainly is. This inspired me to get cooking. Here I’ve used Chilean Carmenère, which Matt chose as it will give a lovely rich sauce for the lamb. Enjoy!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
2 shallots, cut in half then finely sliced
1 tsp salt
Four lamb shanks (ask your butcher to cut the bone, making it easier to fit them in the casserole)
Chilean Carmenère (a big glug)
About 500ml tomato passata or 1 tin tomatoes
500ml lamb stock
1 tbsp thyme, chopped
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp sugar
Couple of handfuls black olives
So heat up the oil and butter in a big, heavy-based frying pan. You can do this either way, but I prefer to gently fry the garlic and shallots first, sprinkling them with a big pinch of sea salt, then putting them to one side while I turn up the heat and brown the lamb shanks really well all over.
Now, keeping the pan hot, remove the browned lamb shanks to your casserole dish and pour in a big slug of the wine into the frying pan (Matt recommends the Santa Alicia Carmenère). This will bubble furiously and mix with all the lovely juices left in the pan. Now add back in the onion and garlic mixture, pour in the tomatoes (in whichever form , but as usual, make sure you buy decent passata or a nice brand of whole tomatoes – the cheaper brands are very watery and you want your finished sauce to be gorgeously velvety). Add the stock, stir in the thyme, pepper and sugar and pour the lot over the lamb shanks. Throw in the couple of handfuls of black olives (you can chop them if you like, I prefer them whole).
Now pop the lid on the casserole, place in a preheated oven (about 160/gas 3) and just forget about it for a couple of hours. Lastly, lift out the lamb shanks and keep them warm while you skim a little of the fat from the surface and bubble the sauce to thicken (if needed). Return them to the sauce and serve with a nice minty chilli coucous or some lovely garlicky mash, and of course a big glass of that Carmenère!
Big thanks to English Mum, a shining star of wonderful gorgeousness, who’s very popular foodie blog you can find here.