I flavoured the shanks with the rind from the organic blood oranges I bought from the market, garlic and fresh rosemary. The result was absolutely delicious. The meat was meltingly tender and the flavour of the orange and the rosemary was perfect with the sweetness of the lamb. This dish was so, so simple to put together, with very few ingredients. It is the long, slow cooking that really allows all of the flavours to shine and makes this dish special. It is worth the wait, believe me!
You will need: 4 Frenched (trimmed) lamb shanks, 3 x pieces of orange rind about 6 cm long (remove as much of the white pith as you can so that it does not make the dish bitter) 1 large brown onion cut into medium sized pieces, 4 sliced cloves garlic, 1 x sprig fresh rosemary about 6 cm long, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 cup water, salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 teaspoon paprika.
Method: Ideally, you should use a casserole dish for this that can go from the stovetop to the oven- a heavy cast iron dish is perfect. If you do not have one of these, you will need to do the first step in a frypan and then transfer the shanks to lidded casserole dish for the oven cooking part of the process.
Mix the flour, paprika and some pepper in a plastic bag. Add the shanks and dust them with the flour. Heat the oil in a pan on the stove and sear the shanks until they are browned. Add the onion and garlic and let these cook for about 5 mintues. Add the water, orange rind and rosemary and combine well.
Put the lid on the dish and transfer the shanks to the oven. Cook covered, on a low/medium heat for 2 hours. From time to time check the shanks and turn them, also give the onions a stir, adding a little more water if they start to dry out. There should be about a 1cm layer of liquid in the pan at all times. Eventually the onions and orange rind will break down to a puree-like consistency. This will form the sauce to spoon over the meat.
When the meat is done, let it rest out of the oven with the lid on for 15mins before serving.
Serve with crispy potatoes and a salad. Serves 4.