It is officially winter down under. I don’t know if this is the case in the northern hemisphere when they change seasons but here, it rains every time during the two-week transition period. That’s what I have noticed anyway since living in Sydney. What a rainy weekend and will continue to have rains for the next few days according to the weather channel. And you know what’s really nice during this kind of weather? Comfort food! Hearty meals like this slow-cooked lamb shanks I prepared for dinner last night.Cooked in a slow-cooker for 6 hours, these hearty shanks served over freshly cooked orzo pasta tossed with butter or extra-virgin olive oil was one comfort meal fit for a cold winter night.Ingredients
(To serve 3)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 lamb shanks (250-350g each)
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons each flour and tomato paste
- 1 navel orange
- 400g can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato halves, not marinated
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add lamb shanks. Sear all over, turning several times, or until well-browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a 6-7 liter capacity slow cooker, whisk wine, flour and tomato paste. Remove 6 strips of orange zest with a vegetable peeler. Squeeze 1/4 cup of juice from orange; add zest and juice to wine mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients except parsley.3. Place shanks, meat sides down, in mixture.4. Cover; cook on low-heat setting 5 1/2 – 6 1/2 hours, until lamb is fork tender.
Now one of the good things about slow-cooking is you can do a lot of other things while waiting for the meat to cook. Go shopping, watch a movie or do some house chores. In my case, I went downtown with the hubby and had late lunch (as in 3 pm!) at this quite famous Japanese restaurant. It was my first time to dine there and first impression was good. I was pretty happy with their soft-shell crab entrée. That was really good! The yaki udon noodle dish was delicious as well. And the green and lemon tea was so refreshing, made me all warm inside indeed.
Anyway, back to the shanks. When they are fork-tender, transfer them to a platter; cover with foil to keep warm.
5. Pour braising mixture from slow-cooker into a medium saucepan; skim off and discard fat from surface. Stir parsley into sauce; add salt and pepper, if needed.
6. Serve shanks with orzo; spoon sauce over shanks and orzo.This was worth the 6-hour wait. With all the flavours developed and blended well, this was comfort food at its best!Recipe from Redbook Magazine, March 2006 issue.