Browning the lamb shanks enriches the flavor of this dinner party–worthy dish that is inspired by the flavors of Provence. (If your slow cooker doesn’t have a flameproof insert, do the first three steps in a sauté pan on the stove top, then transfer the contents of the pan to the insert after bringing everything to a boil.) Serve soft Parmesan polenta alongside.
Slow-Cooker Lamb Shanks with Olives and Herbs
- 4 lb. (2 kg) lamb shanks, in 4 equal pieces, each tied around the perimeter with kitchen string
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbs. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) hearty red wine
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups (8 to 12 fl. oz./250 to 375 ml) strained tomatoes
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) pitted black olives such as Kalamata
- 1 tsp. mild honey
- 2 tsp. herbes de Provence
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
1. Season the lamb shanks generously with salt and pepper.
2. Put the flameproof insert of a slow cooker on the stove top over medium-high heat, then add the oil and warm until hot. Add the lamb shanks and cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. Pour off all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the insert and return the insert to medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the flour is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, orange juice, olives, honey, herbes de Provence, 1 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil.
4. Transfer the insert to the slow cooker and add the lamb shanks, submerging them in the liquid. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. The lamb should be very tender.
5. Transfer the lamb shanks to a platter and cover to keep warm. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard as much fat as possible from the cooking liquid.
6. Snip the strings on the lamb shanks, then transfer the shanks to individual plates. Spoon the cooking juices over the shanks, garnish with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Learn to make the most of your slow cooker with this and other inspiring recipes in our Quick Slow Cooking, by Kim Laidlaw.