Winter is officially here and making itself known to us - mind you we think it is cold in Melbourne but compared to some places in the Northern Hemisphere it is relatively mild in comparison!! I travelled to Finland, Sweden and Canada during their winter months and experienced your "cold" during my younger and single days and I remember the snow, the sleet, the frost and the frozen wind quite vividly even to this day.
One thing I do love about winter is casseroles, stews, thick hearty dishes that warm you while you consume and fill you to contentment. Our slow cooker always gets a good workout this time of year as well and tonight's meal was no exception.
Lamb shanks never fail to please around our table especially when they are tender from the slow cooking and paired with a beautiful sauce. Using red wine as a sauce base always accompanies red meat well and the added sweetness from the cranberry sauce just put the "icing on the cake" so to speak. These two flavours together with a hint of rosemary and tomatoes made this dish was delicious.
Of course of side was good ol' mashed potato. It's a shame I didn't have a nice fresh crusty loaf of bread, a bread stick or some crusty rolls... they would have mopped up the juice just as nice if not better than the potatoes! mmmmmm!!
Braised Lamb Shanks with Red Wine and Cranberry Sauce
2 tablespoons plain flour
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 lamb shanks, french style
8 carrots, peeled and cut into 2.5cm lengths
2 onions, sliced
1 cup red wine
1 x 220 gram jar whole berry cranberry sauce
6 cups water
2 tablespoons beef stock
Mix together the flour, salt and pepper and place in a plastic freezer bag. Add lamb shanks and toss in the flour ensuring that the shanks are completely covered.
In a large non-stick fry pan add oil and heat over a medium - high heat. Add the shanks, cooking in batches if required. Cook until sealed and browned all over, turning frequently, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place in slow cooker. (Clean out the pan if the flour has burnt.) Add the carrots to the lamb.
Spray the same pan with cooking spray and saute the onion until golden. Add the red wine, cranberry sauce, water and beef stock powder, stirring until completely combined. Bring to the boil, remove from heat and pour over the lamb shanks and carrots.
Cook in the slow cooker for 4 hours on high heat and 6 - 8 hours on low heat.