Rachel’s Tomato Braised Lamb Shanks are slowly cooked in a sauce rich with red wine and tomato, brightened with fresh soft herbs. The meat falls off the bone into the deeply flavored sauce. Best served with mashed potatoes, brown rice or polenta, and a large helping of steamed hardy greens. The flavors of this dish are ripe for a celebration meal, and the slow-cook method makes it just as feasible a choice for a weeknight meal.
Community Recipes is a recurring feature where we share your recipes on the Jewish Food Hero blog. If you want to share a recipe in this series, pitch us your idea here. This series is all about sharing Kosher recipes. We are creating a positive community around food and sharing.
Tell us about yourself, Rachel Phipps
I am a British cookbook author and professional recipe developer. A self-taught home cook, I aim to help busy people figure out what to make for dinner every night!
I live with my boyfriend in Kent, in a period cottage in a small rural village not far from where I grew up. We also share our home with our rescue cat, Camilla. When I was living in London, I wrote my second cookbook split between two of the smallest rental kitchens I’ve ever experienced. I’ve also lived in Los Angeles, and spent a lot of time cooking and staying with family in both Northern and Southern France.
I read a lot of gothic, fantasy and historical fiction; but sometimes I read a bit of romance – I’ve just finished Love Hypothesis, not usually my thing but I picked it up because everyone is talking about it and days later I still can’t stop thinking about it. While I write cookbooks I also write young adult fantasy in the evenings and I’m hoping to get some of it published in the next year or so.
My favorite meal is usually something speedy and flavourful like Korean Kimchee Fried Rice or a nice bowl of pasta, but I also love a bit of slow cooked meat. I’ve got ox cheeks braising in red wine for dinner right now!
Tell us about your passion project
I write recipes for a living, so sometimes feel like I don’t get to do enough actual ‘food writing’. Last year, I started my newsletter Ingredient, focusing on a different new ingredient every month. It includes recipes, but mostly is the chance for me to write long form essays on whatever ingredient I’m obsessed with at any given time: Click here to read Ingredient.
Tell us about your connection with Judaism. How is it expressed in your life in general, and in your kitchen?
I’m a Jewish atheist. My mother’s family are orthodox but I was brought up without religion. I actually went to church most days for over a decade because I went to a Cathedral school. I don’t keep kosher but as a food writer – especially as I’ve got older – I love exploring my heritage through cooking. I search for Jewish recipes from around the world, share my favorite Jewish foods and ingredients with others, and recreate the treats my Ma-ma used to bring me down from the Jewish delicatessens in North London. I’m at my most Jewish in the kitchen: I obsessively feed everyone, and I’m planning on throwing together a last minute rollmop and cucumber sandwich for lunch today!
How do you express your values in your home through your kitchen?
It is hard doing my job because sometimes I have to cook the same thing over and over, and a lot of the time I don’t get to choose what I make. As a result, when I’m cooking for just the two of us, or for my website or newsletter, I’ve been trying to cut out supermarket meat. I prefer to focus more on slow reared, high welfare meat and things which also support British farmers.
What is the best thing you learned from another person about food and hospitality?
I used to use a press to crush garlic, and I always struggled grating fresh ginger. Then I worked with Octavia, the assistant and one of the food stylists on the shoot for my second cookbook, One Pan Pescatarian. She introduced me to using a hand held microplane for garlic, ginger, hard cheese and citrus zest. It might seem like a small thing, but it has honestly revolutionized the way I cook!
What three food items could you not live without?
Dried pasta, brown onions, tinned tomatoes
Give us your best food tip!
Make homemade stock in the slow cooker. Store bought fresh stock is so expensive and the stuff in the cartons is hit and miss. Just throw it all in and leave it overnight. Keep the finished stock in the fridge or freeze it in silicone ice cube trays or soup-size portions.
What are your 2-3 go-to cookbooks?
I find inspiration in home cookery books:
This gets beyond the typical dishes associated with German food, and offers dishes that are closely linked to the seasons. Recipes include things like whole-wheat buttermilk waffles, caraway roast pork, and red cabbage, quince and apple slaw.
Deb Perelman is a homecook and a food blogger – I love her recipes because they are special without being pretentious. The recipes here are things like slaw, mushroom bourguignon and hazelnut chocolate crepes.
This book has over 400 recipes and is all about making mistakes in the kitchen! It demystifies all the basics, and offers fantastic suggestions for using up leftovers or making do with what you have – this is so practical! Recipes include Aunt Renee’s Chicken Soup and Merguez Sausage.
What’s the story behind your Tomato Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe
I love to slow braise meat, especially when I’ve got a bit of time writing during the day, so it is ready for the evening. This is a classic Italian cacciatore base using a recipe from the Californian food blog Spoon Fork Bacon. I had the idea of throwing lamb shanks into it. I also use the same base for venison and beef, adjusting the cooking times accordingly. It is simple enough for everyday but special enough for a celebration. The fresh mint garnish is my own touch because mint goes so well with lamb, but any soft herbs you’ve got in the garden will work equally as well.Print
1 tbsp light oil
2 small medium or lamb shanks
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
1 brown onion
1 large carrot
1 large garlic clove
generous sprig fresh sage
generous sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
125ml (1/2 cup) red wine
1 x 400g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
fresh mint or flat leaf parsley
Brown rice or soft polenta
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees (320 farenheit). Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed casserole dish over a medium heat.
Season the lamb shanks all over with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in the pan, setting aside afterwards.
Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion and the carrot. Turn the heat down to low and add them to the pan with a little more salt. Fry for 8-10 minutes until the onions and carrot are soft and just starting to colour.
Peel and add the garlic, crushed or finely grated, and cook until aromatic. Finely chop the fresh herbs and stir them into the pan along with the bay leaf and lots more seasoning.
Add the wine and turn the heat back up to medium, allowing it to bubble away and reduce by half. Now is the time to scrape up any bits stuck on the pan from browning the lamb shanks and stir them into the sauce.
Add the tinned tomatoes and stock – you can use stock to swill out the tomato tin so you don’t leave any tomato sauce behind.
Return the lamb shanks to the sauce and bring to the boil. Clap on the lid and transfer to the oven to braise for 2 to 2 ½ hours (depending on what size shanks you use). The lamb is cooked when it falls off the bone and is fork tender.
Lay a couple of sheets of kitchen paper over the top of the sauce (I remove the shanks while I do this) to absorb the layer of fat sitting on top.
Season the sauce to taste before serving over mashed potato, brown rice or polenta, sprinkled with roughly chopped soft herbs.
Keywords: lamb, slow cook, lamb shank
More Community Recipes
Jewish Food Hero’s Community Recipes feature is a space for us all to share our favorites and hear from a variety of people in our community. This is an easy and fun way to get new meal ideas and learn about each other. Since you’ve read Rachel’s recipe, do you feel inspired to share your Kosher recipe? Don’t forget to get in touch to share your recipe too!
Check out these other recipes from our community: