This delicious and tender slow-cooked lamb is deep in flavour, and a classic which never fails. Easy to prepare ahead and to reheat. It is perfect served with mashed potatoes, couscous or rice.
Preheat oven to 190°C (fan).
Warm 2 - 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a casserole or deep non-stick frying pan. Braise the shanks by searing them on medium high heat for 8 - 10 minutes until golden all over. Set aside, covered.
Add the remaining oil to the lamb pan, with the onion, carrots and celery and cook on a low medium heat for a 5 - 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the garlic and fresh herbs, stir, and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the red wine and water, increase the heat and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes.
If using a casserole, return the lamb shanks to it, otherwise place the lamb in an oven dish, just large enough to fit them in one layer. Cover with the vegetable/wine/stock mixture — with all the herbs — and place it in the oven, covered with a lid or foil.
Cook for 45 minutes, turning the meat halfway through, then reduce the temperature to 160°C (fan) and cook for an additional 1½ - 2 hours, turning and basting occasionally. Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes. (As different cuts and size of meat take different time, test the meat with a fork or knife. It should slide in and out with ease once cooked. If still a little firm then cook for another 20-30 minutes.)
Once cooked, remove from the oven and rest the meat (covered) for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, either by a whole shank per person, or by slicing or shredding the shanks with gravy on top or on the side.