Pre-heat oven to 170◦ Place half the oil in a large, frying pan over a moderately high heat. Lightly flour lamb shanks, season with salt and cracked black pepper. Cook lamb shanks for 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Return frying pan to the heat, add remaining oil. Add garlic, bay leaves, onion, celery, while pan-frying add fresh thyme followed by carrots. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally or until soft and golden. Add oregano. Cook for a further 3 -5 minutes. Place in a heavy based casserole dish, top with lamb shanks.
Add the stock and bring to boil. Add tomato passata and red wine, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes, to thicken slightly. Pour sauce over lamb shanks. Cover with baking paper and foil. Cook in the oven for 3 hours.
Serve lamb shanks on a bed of soft white polenta, garnished with fresh herbs and with steamed asparagus.
Top serving dish with shaved parmesan.
Lamb shanks can be cooked the day before and gently heated to serve.
Polenta can be substituted with mashed potato
Asparagus can be substituted with broccoli or broccolini
This recipe also works by cooking lamb shanks in a slow cooker
Check out Sam's youtube cooking demonstration here.