Forget about entrees at your next dinner party. This show-stopper main is so impressive that it makes an entrance all of its own.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 lamb shanks, French trimmed
- 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 1 cup dried French-style puy lentils (see notes)
- 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Mixed salad leaves, to serve
- Crusty bread, to serve
Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, deep frying pan over high heat. Cook lamb shanks, in 2 batches, turning for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a large ovenproof dish.
Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining oil in pan. Add onion and celery. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion has softened. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add chicken stock and 2 cups cold water. Bring to the boil. Carefully pour stock mixture over lamb in dish. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes.
Add lentils to lamb. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake for a further 30 minutes or until lamb is tender and starting to fall from the bone.
Meanwhile, line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place tomatoes on prepared tray. Season with salt. Place in oven with lamb. Bake for 20 minutes or until tomatoes just start to collapse. Stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add lemon rind, lemon juice and parsley. Toss to combine.
Spoon tomato mixture over lamb in dish. Serve with salad leaves and crusty bread.