American lamb shanks are giant things; three are plenty for four guests. New Zealand are smaller (more like large drumsticks), so you need one per person. Make this a day in advance for the flavors to mellow and the fat to solidify on top of the sauce.
3 American or 4 New Zealand lamb shanks
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
2 medium yellow onions, cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups canned plum tomatoes, crushed in a bowl
2 cup red wine
3 cups chicken stock
Few sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
1/2 cup pitted black olives, chopped
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.
2. Sprinkle the meat all over with salt and pepper.
3. In a large flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the shanks and brown, without moving, for 5 minutes. Turn and brown the other side, without moving, for 5 minutes. Using tongs, tip the shanks onto their meaty ends so the bones are standing in the air; hold them up with the tongs if necessary. Brown 2 minutes more. Remove the shanks from the pan.
4. Add the red and yellow onions, cut sides down. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn the onions to brown the other cut sides. Add the garlic. Cook 2 minutes more.
5. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and stock. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.
6. Return the shanks to the pan meaty sides down, nestling them in to make one layer. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the rosemary. Let the liquid return to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven.
7. Cook the shanks for 1 hour. Turn and cook 1 hour more. Turn again and without covering the pan, cook the shanks for 30 to 60 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a fork. (Total cooking time is 2 1/2 to 3 hours; after removing the cover, New Zealand shanks will take 30 minutes more, American 60 minutes more.)
8. Transfer the shanks and solids to a large container. Tip the liquid into another container. Let both cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
9. Skim the fat from the liquid. Tip it into the flameproof casserole. Add the shanks and olives. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and set on the cover askew. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the mixture is very hot. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Sheryl Julian
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.