- 8 french-trimmed lamb shanks (1.6kg)
- 8 clove garlic, halved
- 2 medium lemons (280g)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 large brown onions (600g), chopped coarsely
- 2 cup (500ml) dry red wine
- 3 medium carrots (360g), quartered lengthways
- 3 trimmed celery stalks (300g), chopped coarsely
- 4 bay leaves
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1.75 litre (7 cups) chicken stock
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- 2 kilogram potatoes, chopped coarsely
- 300 millilitre cream
- 100 gram butter
- 1Pierce meatiest part of each shank in two places with sharp knife; press garlic into cuts.
- 2Grate rind of both lemons finely; reserve. Halve lemons; rub cut sides all over shanks. Preheat oven to moderate.
- 3Heat oil in large flameproof casserole dish; cook shanks, in batches, until browned. Cook onion, stirring, in same dish until softened. Add wine; bring to a boil, then remove dish from heat.
- 4Place carrot, celery and shanks, in alternate layers, on onion mixture in dish. Top with bay leaves and thyme; carefully pour stock over the top. Cover dish tightly with lid or foil; cook in moderate oven about 3 hours or until meat is tender. (Can be made ahead to this stage. Cover; refrigerate overnight.)
- 5Meanwhile, combine reserved grated rind, parsley and mint in small bowl.
- 6Boil, steam or microwave potato until tender; drain. Mash potato with warmed cream and butter in large bowl until smooth. Cover to keep warm.
- 7Transfer shanks to platter; cover to keep warm. Strain pan juices through muslin-lined sieve or colander into medium saucepan; discard solids. Boil pan juices, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half.
- 8Divide mashed potato among serving plates; top with shanks, sprinkle with lemon-herb mixture, drizzle with pan juices. Serve with steamed green beans, if desired.
To "french" a lamb shank (or rack or cutlet) means to clean away excess gristle, fat and meat from the end of the shank (or cutlet or rack), thus exposing the bone. Trimmed shanks look somewhat like giant chicken legs and, indeed, some butchers do call them "lamb drumsticks".
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