SLOW-COOKER BRAISED LAMB SHANKS

Recipe courtesy of The Bear Cupboard (http://bearcupboard.blogspot.com)
 (adapted from Williams Sonoma)

Bear Rating:  9 out of 10


INGREDIENTS:  1/2 medium onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
6 oz.whole mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup chicken broth or stock
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 small bay leaf
2 lamb shanks, about 1 lb. each
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup drinking quality dry red wine

Combine onion, celery, carrot, parsnip, mushrooms, garlic, broth, tomatoes, paste, thyme and bay leaf in crock pot.  Stir to mix.  Season lamb with salt and pepper.  In a heavy pan large enough to fit the shanks, heat the oil until nearly smoking.  Add shanks and brown on all sides, about 7-8 minutes total.  Transfer to crock pot.  Remove saute pan from heat, pour in wine and return to medium-high heat.  Bring to simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from pan bottom.  Pour this liquid and any scraped up bits into the crock pot, cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, then on low for about 2 additional hours, or till meat is very tender.  Transfer shanks (which should be falling apart by now) to serving dish.  Remove bay leaf from pot and puree liquids using an immersion blender or a regular blender.  Pour some sauce over shanks and pass the rest alongside.  Yield:  3-4 servings
Accompaniments:  Mashed potatoes, buttered parsley noodles, rice, pureed butternut squash.