4 tbsp. olive oil, divided use
2 large onions, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 lb. lamb shanks, neck or shoulder
3 tbsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups red wine (inexpensive, or old and open)
2 cups stock (preferably lamb) or water
3 large sprigs rosemary
1 bunch thyme
8 cloves garlic, skins removed
Sauté onions in 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot (it will need to hold all of the lamb) over medium heat with a light sprinkle of salt. As onions begin to soften, add celery, then carrots.
Meanwhile, toss lamb in 3 tbsp. salt, a bit of black pepper and remaining 3 tbsp. olive oil. Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Sear lamb to a golden brown on all sides and add to sautéing onions, celery and carrots. (This will make your kitchen a little smoky, so turn on your hood fan if you have one.) Use wine to deglaze hot pan and add these juices to the pot.
Cover lamb in remaining wine and stock until fully submerged. Add rosemary, thyme and garlic cloves and cover. Cook over medium-low heat for 3 hours (or alternatively in a 350-degree oven).
Check lamb every hour, stirring and testing it with a fork. Meat is ready when it starts to fall apart at the slightest touch. Taste cooking liquid and add salt and pepper if desired. This can be done the day before serving; the lamb left in this liquid overnight in the refrigerator will absorb even more of the juicy flavors.
To serve: To make a Lambwich, shred meat and serve on a soft ciabatta with pesto, sweet peppers, arugula and provolone cheese. If you're looking for a great dinner dish, the lamb pairs well with polenta and a side of kale or roasted Brussels sprouts.