Oven roasted lamb shanks with roasted tomatoes and toasted orzo

  • For the lamb
  • 45ml olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 500ml Port wine
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1 litre chicken stock or water
  • Roasted garlic, recipe follows
  • Toasted orzo pasta, recipe follows
  • Slow roasted tomatoes, recipe follows
  • For the roasted garlic
  • 2 heads garlic, tops removed
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • For the toasted orzo pasta
  • 500g orzo
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 30g cold unsalted butter
  • 250ml braising liquid from lamb shanks, recipe above
  • 25g finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the slow roasted tomatoes
  • 4 plum tomatoes, sliced in 1/2 vertically
  • 15ml olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the lamb:
1) Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

2) Heat oil in a medium casserole dish over high heat until smoking. Season the shanks on both sides with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown on both sides. Remove shanks to a plate.

3) Add the celery, carrots, and onions and cook until caramelised. Add the Port and red wine and reduce by half. Add the chicken stock, the pulp from the roasted garlic, and return the shanks; bring to a boil on the stove, and then cover and bake in the oven for two hours or until tender.

4) Remove shanks, strain sauce into a medium saucepan, and reserve 250ml of the braising liquid for cooking the orzo. Cook the sauce over high heat until liquid is reduced by half.

5) Serve shanks with sauce, orzo, and tomatoes.

For the roasted garlic:
1) Place garlic heads in a small roasting dish and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 1 1/2 hours or until soft.

2) Let cool before squeezing the pulp out.

For the toasted orzo pasta:
1) Bring two litres of water (or a combination of chicken stock and water) to a boil.

2) Heat a medium nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the orzo and toast until golden brown.

3) In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat, then add the onion and cook until soft. Add the toasted orzo and the remaining orzo and saute for 1 minute to coat the pasta with the onion mixture.

4) Add hot water to the orzo as if you were making risotto, a little at a time, until the pasta is al dente. Finish with the cold butter and 250ml of the braising liquid.

5) Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the roasted tomatoes:
1) Preheat oven to 95 degrees C/Gas 1.

2) In a small baking dish, toss the tomatoes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for four hours. Alternatively, use re-hydrated sun-dried tomatoes instead.

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