A couple of weeks ago, I held a dinner party for some close friends at my house. I have belatedly discovered that my slow cooker is the hostess's friend, as you can get on with doing a myriad of other tasks while dinner looks after itself in the slow cooker.
To take advantage of my slow cooker, I decided to make Lamb Shanks with Cannellini Beans in the slow cooker. I accompanied them with a pumpkin, cranberry and quinoa salad, for which you can find the recipe here, broccolini poached in chicken stock with garlic, the recipe for which can be found online here.
The recipe for the Lamb Shanks with Cannellini Beans came form one of my newer recipe books, Slow Cooking by Catherine Atkinson (p118). The sauce is white wine based rather than being based on red wine or tomatoes, but is equally delicious in a different way. My guests enjoyed lamb shanks cooked this way, and what is even better, once the initial prep is done, you can leave these shanks to cook away while you get on with other things for your guests.
To make these shanks, as well as a slow cooker, you will need:
1 x 400g can cannellini beans, drained (Catherine used dried beans)
4 lamb shanks
2 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 chopped brown onion
2 sliced cloves garlic
1 sl;iced celery stick
1 sliced carrot
leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary (I used a shake of dried rosemary)
2 bay leaves
175ml white wine
2 tablespoons tomato puree
600ml hot water
salt and pepper
Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper then coat them in the flour. Heat the oil in a large fry pan and brown the shanks in the pan until browned on all sides. Transfer the shanks to your slow cooker.
Add the onion to the pan and cook until golden, then stir in the garlic, celery, carrot, rosemary and bay leaves.
Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble and reduce, then add the tomato paste diluted in the hot water. Bring the micture to the boil, season with salt and pepper, then pour it over the lamb shanks in the slow cooker.
Cook the shanks on high for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning before serving.