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Lamb au Vin

A classic French stew of tender Ontario lamb simmered in a red wine reduction with roasted onions, mushrooms and hints of savoury bacon. Rich and flavourful, it’s best served over creamy mashed potatoes.

 6 Ontario lamb shanks
 1 onion, diced
 1 carrot, diced
 2 celery stalks, diced
 1 head garlic, halved horizontally
 1 (750 mL) bottle red wine
 2 sprigs thyme
 2 sprigs rosemary
 2 sprigs parsley
 2 bay leaves
 1 tsp (5 mL) each, coarse salt and pepper, divided
 4 tbsp (60 mL) olive oil, divided
 2 tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
 2 tbsp 2 tbsp (30 mL) flour
 3 cups (750 mL) veal or beef broth
 6 slices Ontario bacon, diced
 2 cups (60 mL) package pearl onions, peeled
 1 lb (500 g) button mushrooms
 ¼ cup (50 mL) chopped parsley

In large bowl, combine lamb, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, red wine, thyme, rosemary, parsley, bay leaves and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each of the salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to one day.


Remove lamb from marinade, reserving marinade. Season lamb with remaining salt and pepper.


In a large Dutch oven or deep skillet, heat 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil over medium high heat. Brown lamb in two batches until deep brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining oil and lamb.


Strain the vegetables from the marinade, reserving marinade. Add vegetables to the pan and cook until they are softened and begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook one minute. Stir in flour, cook one minute more. Stir in reserved wine marinade, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes; add the broth and the lamb to the pan, nestling the shanks into the cooking liquid. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and transfer to a 350 F (180 C) oven, until meat is very tender, about 2 hours.


Meanwhile, sauté bacon in a large skillet until cooked but not crisp. Transfer to plate with tongs and crumble. Add onions to skillet, cook over medium heat, covered, until onions are tender, about 12 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add mushrooms, cooking until golden, about 5 minutes.


Transfer lamb to stovetop; remove lamb from pan. Bring sauce to boil over medium high heat and cook until it has been reduced by half (skimming any fat from the surface), about 15 minutes. Return lamb to sauce with crumbled bacon, onions and mushrooms. Add parsley and serve over mashed potatoes.

Cook's Notes:

Makes 6 servings