4 lamb shanks
1 large Spanish onion or two small yellow ones, diced into 1-inch cubes
4 carrots, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
4 celery ribs, diced into ½-inch cubes
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
3 cups red wine1 cup tomato paste
4 bay leaves10-12 thyme branches tied together in a bundle with kitchen twine
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Purée onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in a food processor until it is a coarse paste. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400˚.
2. Season the shanks generously with salt. Coat a large sauté pan generously with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the shanks to the pan and brown well on all sides. Make sure the shanks are fully browned — don't rush it.
3. Remove the shanks from the sauté pan and place in a roasting pan. Remove the excess fat from the sauté pan and add the vegetable paste. Season generously with salt and sauté until the vegetables are very brown and aromatic. The browned puree should form a sort of crust on the bottom of the pan, but don't let it burn.
4. Add the tomato paste, wine, and chopped rosemary to the sauté pan. Stir frequently and cook until the wine has reduced by about half.
5. Add 3–4 cups of water to the sauté pan to loosen the vegetable–tomato paste mixture. Pour this over the shanks in the roasting pan. The shanks should be submersed; if they are not, add more water. Add the bay leaves and thyme bundle to the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven. After two hours, turn the shanks over. Continue cooking until meat is incredibly tender, another 1½ to 2 hours, checking every 45 minutes to see if the liquid has reduced too much (if so, add more water). For maximum browning, remove the foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.