Spring has hit the Cape in all its floral glory. It’s my favourite Cape season because the days are cool, it’s still green and the dreaded South Easter hasn’t kicked in yet – well, not much. October is pretty much the last month that I can relish cling-to-your-ribs type food like lamb shank before it’s time for summer dresses and salads. The folks from Welgegund Heritage Wines in Wellington obviously read my mind because they sent me a bottle of their premium red blend, Providence, along with their winemaker, Friedrich Kühne’s, take on lamb shanks. His recipe included more eastern elements like ginger, soya and oyster sauce. I had seriously cheesy parmesan polenta on the brain, so I went Mediterranean instead.
All you need is…
4 lamb shanks
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
½ cup celery, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 T cake flour
1 T tomato paste
500ml dry red wine
400ml lamb stock
1 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
10cm rosemary sprig
2 small sprigs thyme
olive oil, for frying
cheesy parmesan polenta, for serving
flatleaf parsley, for serving
baby carrots, pan fried low and slow in a pat of butter, for serving (optional)
Brown the lamb shanks in a little splash of olive oil. Place shanks in an ovenproof dish with lid and set aside. Tumble the onion, celery and carrots into the same pan and fry over low heat whilst stirring for 5 minutes. (There should be enough residual fat in the pan, add just a teeny bit more if needed.) Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds then stir in the flour until it disappears. Add the tomato paste, red wine and beef stock and stir, whilst boiling, for two minutes. Pour the sauce over the shanks, add the herbs and pepper, cover and roast in a 160 degree Celsius oven for 2-3 hours until fall-off-the-bone soft.
Cook polenta according to package instructions, stir in indecent amounts of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino, then taste for salt and adjust. Taste shank sauce and adjust salt as needed. Serve on polenta and scatter with loads of chopped parsley. Crack open a bottle of good red and enjoy!
ABOUT WELGEGUND HERITAGE WINES PROVIDENCE 2015
Welgegund Heritage Wines Providence 2015 is a fruit-driven Rhône-style blend of 60% Shiraz, 30% Cinsaut (1974 heritage vineyard) and 10% Carignan from the best fruit in selected vineyards – all dryland bush vine, giving concentrated colours and aroma. All cultivars were fermented separately and spent 16 months in 95% French and 5% American oak. Only 30% new oak was utilized, respecting the fruit and the unique character of each cultivar.
The Shiraz provides tremendous body and structure, adding dark fruit and spice while the Cinsaut component adds plenty of red fruit, freshness and youth. The Carignan contributes to the enjoyable and lengthy end to the wine. Complex dark fruit (mulberry, blackberry and black cherry) as well as some red cranberry fruit notes are complemented by cloves, nutmeg and a hint of pepper. The tannins are soft and extremely silky. Drink it now or age it a bit more.
Accolades: It was honoured at the 2018 National Wine Challenge with Double Gold as well as 4 stars in the 2018 Platter’s wine guide and Silver at the Decanter World Wine Awards and Concours Mondiale. Retail price: Welgegund Heritage Wines Providence 2015 is currently only sold at the cellar, for R320 (excl VAT) per bottle, but will soon be more readily available nationally.