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Flavourful lamb shanks benefit from a long, slow cooking time – in the oven or slow cooker – to break down tough connective tissues. They’re perfect to toss into the slow cooker while you’re at work, or cook for 2-3 hours once you get home – perfect for those nights when it’s OK to eat later, or if you’re planning a romantic date night after the kids have gone to bed.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Lentils

olive or canola oil, for cooking (optional)
4 lamb shanks
1/2 cup dry green or brown lentils
1 carrot, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme
salt & pepper
2 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock
a wineglass full of wine (optional)

In a large, heavy skillet heat a drizzle of oil over high heat and brown the lamb shanks a couple at a time, turning to brown them on all sides. (Don’t worry about cooking them through.) Put the lentils and carrot in the bottom of a slow cooker or large oven-proof pot and put the browned shanks on top. Scatter over the garlic, rosemary or thyme and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the stock and wine overtop.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or bake at 325°F for 3 hours, until the lamb is very tender. Serve the shanks alongside the lentils, drizzled with the sauce. Mashed potatoes are perfect for catching drips.

Serves 4.

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