Succulent Lamb Shanks Stew

Spring may have sprung, but it is not too late to have a nice hearty meal.

A winter stew can be changed into a spring one, simply by changing the steamed veges with a leafy salad with new-season tomatoes and a bit of crunchy capsicum.

Another favourite way to eat casseroles, is to put it in a pie. A really good casserole wrapped up in a nice, flakey pastry is the ultimate Kiwi lunch. And as we all know, pies are good all year round!

So even though we are heading into spring from today, don't be shy about cooking up a stew, casserole or hearty soup. Lighten it up with a salad and serve with couscous... or even better, use it as pie filling for the ultimate lunch.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 lamb shanks
Salt
Black pepper
8T olive oil, in 2 measures
8T Worchestershire sauce, in 2 measures
4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 cups mushroom, quartered
2 cups beef or chicken stock
1/2 bottle red wine
1 sprig rosemary
2T thyme
2 bay leaves

Directions:

1. Coat the lamb with some salt, black pepper and 4T of worchestershire sauce.

2. In a large pot, or deep pan with a lid, heat 4T olive oil over a medium high heat and brown the lamb to aid carmelisation and sealing flavour. Brown for 10-15 min turning constantly to get good colour all over.

3. Remove the lamb and in same pan, heat 4T olive oil and sautee the garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 3 mins and add the rosemary and thyme.

4. Cook until onions are soft and put return the lamb to the pot. Add in the mushrooms.

5. Cook for a further 3 mins and add the beef or chicken stock, 4T of Worchestershire sauce, wine and bay leaves.

6. Bring up to the boil and turn the heat down to a low simmer.

7. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.

8. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Skim any excess fat off the top of the liquid after 2 hours. Cover and cook for another hour. Add more salt and pepper, if required, to taste. If necessary, baste the lamb to keep the meat moist.