Winter is here in Australia, so I’m bringing out the lamb shanks. Lamb and Mushroom Ragu if we are going to be accurate!This is a rich meaty ragu packed with vegetables, so all you need to do is put it with some pasta for a complete meal. You could also serve it with some fluffy mash if potatoes are more your thing. To be honest, in this house we don’t just eat this kind of food in winter, it comes out all times of the year!
I cooked this Lamb and Mushroom Ragu the other night (in order to photograph it the next morning) and my husband Peter go so excited as he walked in the door after work. He knew the smell…he thought he was in for ragu for dinner, but no such luck…
Me: “I’m cooking it so I can shoot it tomorrow morning…we’re having xyz for dinner tonight”
Peter: *Look of disappointment* “Oh…”
He has such a hard life…at least I know he really likes the Lamb and Mushroom Ragu though!
Lamb and Mushroom Ragu
Lamb and Mushroom Ragu - a rich meaty lamb shank ragu, filled with vegetables. Just add pasta for a complete meal.
- 4 lamb shanks - trimmed of excess fat approx 450g each
- 3 tbsp olive oil divided
- 200 g speck chopped
- 300g button mushrooms quartererd
- 2 carrots sliced into 1cm 1/3" half moons
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 tbsp plain/all purpose flour
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4 cups beef stock (warmed in microwave - optional to save time, see my notes)
Preheat oven to 160c ff / 320f
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large dutch oven. Fry carrot, onion & speck over medium heat for 4-5 mins, or until onion starts to soften & speck starts to colour slightly
Add mushrooms to onion mixture and continue to fry, stirring, for 2 mins then remove everything to a bowl and set aside
Allow pot to reheat, meanwhile dust lamb shanks in flour. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to pot and fry shanks over medium high heat for 7-9 mins, turning occasionally to brown on all sides and adding more oil as needed. You should be getting a nice brown layer on the base of your pot - this will add flavour to our sauce.
Once shanks are browned, remove to a plate
Add red wine to pot to deglaze. Stir tomato paste, thyme, garlic & bay leaves into wine and bring to a simmer as you scrape up the flavour layer from the base of the pot. Simmer for about 2 mins or until wine mixture is reduced by about half
Return shanks to the pot, along with the reserved veg mixture plus any drippings. Add stock to the pot, mixing slightly to combine. Bring to a simmer - once simmering, cover lamb mixture with a circle of baking paper (see notes) & bake with the lid on for 3 hours or until lamb is tender. The lamb should be falling away from the bones
Once lamb is cooked, remove bay leaves & discard. Remove lamb from pot (leaving sauce in the pot) and shred lamb with 2 forks, discarding fat & bones
While you are shredding the lamb, place your pot on the stove top and simmer until the sauce is thickened to your liking. Add shredded lamb to sauce & serve with pasta
I choose to heat my stock in the microwave purely to save myself some time. This is totally optional.
The reason I have cut the carrots quite large is so that they mostly stay intact for the 3 hour cooking time. You could cut them smaller/thinner if you like, but just know that they will probably break down a lot by the end of the cooking time - which is fine if that's what you are going for!
You could also substitute finely chopped fresh rosemary for the dried if you wish.
As for the circle of baking paper, or a "cartouche" in cooking terms - this keeps the top of your meat/veg moist as it simmers. You can see my post Mushroom Osso Buco & Cartouche Instructions for more info.
Please be careful when you are taking the shanks out of the sauce once they are cooked. The meat will be VERY soft, and has a tendency to come away from the bones (which is what we want!) BUT bits of lamb can "plop" back into the sauce as you fish the shanks out and splash you with hot sauce! Been there, done that.
I like to serve it with pappardelle pasta, topped with fresh grated parmesan.
*Please note that the amount of calories per serve is provided as a guide only, as ingredients and cooking methods can vary greatly*