Friday, October 22, 2010

Braised Lamb Shanks

I wandered into our little grocery store last Saturday, looking for inspiration, and lo and behold! Lamb shanks on sale! Braised lamb shanks are one of our favorite, cold-weather, Sunday dinners.  Why?  Because not only are they delicious, they cook slowly all afternoon and make the house smell amazing.  And, if they're done before we're ready to eat (that would be the end of the Patriot's game - or half time if it's a late game), it doesn't do them any harm to stay warm in a low oven.

I grabbed four shanks (another plus - great leftovers!), dug deep into my gray matter and tried to remember the recipe - not used since last winter (the recipe, not the gray matter...).  I was thrilled and not a little surprised when I got home and opened the cookbook. I had remembered everything I needed!  Not bad for an old woman!

So, although we enjoyed our lamb shanks last Sunday AND Monday nights, I saved posting the recipe for today - hoping to inspire someone else's cold-weather Sunday dinner.

Lamb Shanks Braised in Red Wine
Serves 6 or 2-4 with leftovers
This recipe is taken directly from Cook's Illustrated The New Best Recipe Cookbook 
with only minor changes.

1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
6 lamb shanks (about 1 to 1 1/3 pounds) - we only did 4 shanks and it was fine.
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 medium onions, sliced thick
3 medium carrots, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 cups dry red wine
3 cups chicken broth

1.  Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a large roasting pan or ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of the shanks generously with salt and pepper.

I was sous chef on this one, hubby was the chef.  Can you tell he likes pepper?
2. Place as many shanks as will fit in a single layer in the pan and cook, turning once, until nicely
browned all over. Transfer to a plate and set aside. If necessary, repeat until all shanks are done and set aside.

3. Drain all but 2 tbs of the fat from the pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomato paste,   
    herbs, and a light sprinkling of salt.  Cook until the veggies soften slightly, 3-4 minutes.  

Okay, so I did forget an ingredient...  Note, no fresh rosemary.  Sigh...

4. Add the wine, then the stock, stirring to loosen the browned bits on the pan bottom. 

   5. Bring the liquid to a simmer.  Add shanks and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Cover the pan tightly with cover or foil and transfer to the oven.  Braise the shanks for 2 hours. Uncover and continue braising until the shank tops are brown, about 30 minutes. Turn the shanks and braise until the other side is browned and the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, 15 to 30 minutes longer.

Remove the pot from the oven and let the shanks rest in the sauce for at least 15 minutes.  Carefully transfer the shanks to individual plates.  Arrange a portion of the veggies around each shank.  With a large spoon, skim the excess fat from the braising liquid and spoon some over each shank.  We had them with fresh, steamed brocolli and garlic smashed potatoes.  Heaven!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Lindsay! Going to make the lamb shanks today! Stay warm! Love, Linda