In Greece in the 90s, the cooking would begin in the mornings, with every Greek mother getting up at preparing the food ready for lunchtime, which is when the main meal of the day would be eaten. Slow cooked food like this dish, would be prepared, then taken to the baker after he finished his bread baking for the morning and put in his oven to cook until tender.
These days, I put food like this in the crockpot / slow cooker for the day, then relax for the rest of the day. Although from Greece, this is perfect winter food, with the cinnamon and clove creating deep warming flavours.
This lamb would be elegant enough to cook for entertaining, leaving you the rest of the day to make the appetiser and dessert. One of the reasons I love to use the slow cooker when I have friends to dinner.
WINE NOTE: Xinomavro is the recommended wine for this, but if you are unable to obtain this, a Merlot from Chile may work or Laithewaites prunish The Black Stump would be a good match.
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
8 allspice berries
1 tbs olive oil
4 lamb shanks- trimmed
1 large onion (use 3 onions if in the UK)
1/4 cup Metaxa or other brandy
1 x14 1/2oz can crushed tomatoes
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Put the spices in a spice grinder and grind until powder
Heat the oil in a large skillet on a medium/high heat and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. Then transfer to the slow cooker.
Place the onions in the skillet and cook, stirring frequently until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the spices and brandy, deglazing the skillet. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Pour over the lamb shanks.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, then serve with a Greek salad.