I don’t practice religion but keep some of the foodie family traditions, although I don’t really recall my dad ever cooking lamb for Easter. Regardless I love treating friends (and myself) to a different lamb dish every year. This year I will be taking Easter weekend off and relax at the beach. So I made for you in my test kitchen these slow-cooked lamb shanks in red wine sauce served with red kidney beans, fava beans and chickpeas.
There are plenty of meatless days in my diet so when I have meat, I am in 7th heaven and go for quality. I buy from an eco-concision and animal positive treatment butcher. I pre-ordered the lamb shanks ( souris d’agneau) and asked him to cut the meat away from the top part of the bone. It is a rather expensive cut ( €20 for 2 shanks) but I serve it with a very economical but yummy side dish, all you need to serve it with is : a can of kidney beans (€0.75), a can of chickpeas ( €0.59) and a pack of frozen fava beans (€0.99).
Slow-cooked does mean it takes time but in return you get beautiful layers of flavour, making it definitely worth the wait.
For the red wine sauce, choose a full bodied grape like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah. Good quality beef stock, onion ( I used red onion), carrots ( I used purple ones) and celery are a must. I used herbs like thyme and bay leaves while stewing. Spices will bring the flavour to the next level so I used sumac and ground cumin at the end to season.
I blitzed the vegetables with the sauce, it yields a thicker sauce which I love. But you can opt to sieve the sauce and discard the vegetables if you want a more clear runny sticky sauce, more traditional.
STEP 1: Season with salt and pepper the lamb and brown the lamb shanks in some olive oil.
STEP 2: Remove the lamb and sweat the vegetables: red onion, purple carrots and celery
STEP 3: Add red wine and stock till nearly covering the lamb. Add thyme and bay leaves.
STEP 4: Cook covered in the oven for 2 hours at 180C. Turn the lamb over after 1 hour. Remove and simmer on stovetop for another 20 minutes until the meat almost falls of the bones.
STEP 5: Boil the fava beans and drain, open the cans of kidney beans and chickpeas. Sweat some diced onion in olive oil, add the fava, kidney beans and chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper.
STEP 6: Remove lamb shanks and reduce the cooking liquid by 1/3, blitz or sieve as you prefer. Season with ground cumin and sumac to release the beautiful lamb and wine flavours.
Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski with our commercial deals. I used my cast iron cook pot from Home of cooking, plate from Hema, bowl from Serax Pascale Naessens, dish towel from Daylesford farm shop London