What’s not to love about saucy, red wine–braised lamb shanks crowned with flaky, buttery puff pastry? I make this when I want to wow my guest as there is something so theatrical about an exposed shank piercing a golden pastry top. What I love most about these pies is that the pastry is cooked separatelyso it’s crispy on both sides. If you’re super organised, make the shanks a day ahead and gently reheat the following day while you bake the pastry.
4 lamb shanks, French trimmed
salt ﬂakes and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
300g button mushrooms, quartered
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 rosemary sprig
1 star anise
1 tablespoon tomato paste
500ml (2 cups) red wine (such as shiraz or cabernet sauvignon)
1 litre beef stock
375g good-quality butter puff pastry, rolled out to 3mm thick
1 egg, whisked
3 ﬂat-leaf parsley sprigs, chopped
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Season the shanks with salt and pepper.
Heat half the olive oil in a large, ﬂameproof casserole dish over high heat. Sear the lamb shanks on all sides for 5–6 minutes, then remove from the dish and place on a plate. Add the remaining oil and sauté the onion, carrot and celery for a few minutes until softened and golden. Add the mushroom, garlic, rosemary and star anise. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a further 30 seconds, then add the wine and boil for 3–5 minutes until almost evaporated. Pour in the stock and again bring to the boil. Return the lamb shanks to the dish.
Place a cartouche (a piece of baking paper cut to ﬁt the dish) on top, then cover with the lid. Transfer to the oven to braise for 2 hours, or until the lamb is soft and pulls easily away from the bone.
While the lamb shanks are cooking, cut out four pastry rounds using the rim of your chosen pie dishes as a guide (my dishes are 11cm in diameter). Place the pastry rounds on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Using a 3cm diameter cookie cutter, cut out and discard the centre from each round (the pastry will be a doughnut shape). Lightly brush with the whisked egg and chill, uncovered, until ready to bake.
Increase the oven temperature to 200°C. Bake the pastry rounds for 15–20 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
Remove the lamb shanks from the sauce and shred the meat, reserving the bones for presentation. Reduce the sauce over medium heat for 8–10 minutes, or until rich and reduced by one-third. Fold the meat through the sauce and add the parsley.
Place the bone in the centre of each pie dish and spoon in the meat sauce. Top with the pastry, allowing the bone to poke through the central hole.
Follow steps 1 and 2. Place the lamb shanks and sauce in the slow cooker. Placea cartouche (a piece of baking paper cut to ﬁt the dish) on top, then cover with thelid and cook on low for 8–10 hours, or until the meat falls easily away from the bone.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Follow step 4. Bake the pastry rounds for 15–20 minutes,or until puffed and golden.
Follow steps 6 and 7.
Recipe from The Slow Cook by Justine Schofield RRP $39.99