2 tablespoons olive oil
4 lamb shanks, 1.5 kg (3 lb) in total
2 red onions, cut into wedges
4 large garlic cloves, halved
300 ml (2 pint) Rioja red wine or lamb stock
400 g (13 oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
3 rosemary sprigs
150 g (5 oz) mixed pitted olives
salt and pepper


1.Preheat the sloww cooker if necessary. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nying pan, season the lamb shanks, then add them to the pan and brown on all sides.
2.Lift them out of the pan and put them in the slow cooker pot with the meatiest parts downwards.
3.Add the remaining oil and onion wedges to the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes until just beginning to colour.
4. Add the garlic, wine or stock, tomatoes, redcurrant jelly and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil, stirring.
5.Scatter the olives over the lamb, then pour over the hot onion mixture. Cover with the lid and cook on high for 5-6 hours until the lamb is very tender.
6.When ready to serve, pour the liquid out of the slow cooker into a saucepan and boil for 10 minutes until reduced by half.
7.Put the lamb into shallow bowls lined with some runny polenta flavoured with butter and Parmesan cheese or mashed potato, if liked, spoon over the onions and olives, then serve with the Rioja sauce.
8.FOR RIOJA-BRAISED CHICKEN WITH OLIVES, substitute a 1.5 kg (3 lb) Oven-ready chicken for the lamb shanks and cook as above, with the chicken cooked breast-side down in the liquid, until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when the thickest parts of the leg and breast are pierced with a sharp knife.

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