2 onions, diced medium fine
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 bottle red wine
vegetable stock (enough to cover everything) approx. 1-2 litres
To thicken the gravy at the end (if required)
½ cup cornfour
½ cup water
Pre heat the oven to 200ºc
Heat a heavy based pan. We are going to seal the shanks and brown them. You will have to do this in batches, you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Place 3 or 4 of the shanks in the hot pan with oil, seal and brown all over. Once sealed, place in a large casserole dish, repeat until all the shanks are sealed and browned. Add more oil to the pan if needed.
Sauté the onions and garlic until soft, add to the dish with the shanks. Now we are going to deglaze the pan with some of the red wine. Pour a small amount of red wine (1/2 cup approx) into the hot pan, scrape the bottom and get as much of the good stuff off the bottom as possible, pour into casserole dish with shanks.
Add the remaining wine and prunes to the shanks. Cover everything with the vegetable stock (you want to just cover everything; the amount will vary depending on the size of your dish). Cover with a lid or foil and place in the oven. Cook at 200ºC for 45mins to heat all the way through then turn the temperature down to 120ºC and continue cooking for 4hrs.
After 4hrs uncover the shanks, season to taste (I added 6 teaspoons of salt and 20 turns of my pepper grinder), at this point you may want to thicken the sauce. I did this using cornflour as my thickener.
Mix equal amounts of cornflour and cold water in a cup and add to the sauce, I used ½ cup of cornflour and ½ cup of water. This was just right for me but you could start with ¼ cup cornflour and ¼ cup water and repeat the process until you have it just right, the amount will depend on the size of your dish and how much liquid there is. Leaving the shanks uncovered, turn the oven back up to 200ºC for 40mins allowing the sauce to thicken and reduce. Season again if necessary.
Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.