Braised Lamb Shanks

If you are in the mood for slow-cooked food (and a lot of delicious, tender meat), make THIS. I served this with the suggested accompaniment, hard polenta cakes, which were kind of blaaaaaah. I would serve this with mashed potatoes next time 🙂

Braised Lamb Shanks
serves 2 / adapted from Anne Burrell

Here’s what I used:

  • 2 lamb shanks (1 1/4 pounds each…ridiculous size for 1 person, but whatever…some of the weight is bone, right?)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 1 cups hearty red wine
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 5-6 thyme branches tied together in a bundle
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • gremolata (mince zest of 1 orange, zest of 1 lemon, a handful of parsley, and a garlic clove or two together=gremolata)

Here’s what I did:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large Dutch oven with olive oil over high heat. Remove as much fat as possible from the shanks and generously season with salt and pepper. Add them to the pan and brown on both sides. This is very important. You will know when they are brown – you want them very brown. Don’t rush it.

  2. Meanwhile, puree the chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a food processor until it becomes a coarse paste. Remove and set aside.

  3. When the shanks are browned, remove them from the pan and put them on a plate. Discard the excess fat from the pan and add a little fresh olive oil to saute the pureed veggies. Season with salt and saute the veggies until they are very brown and aromatic, about 20 minutes. The veggies should form a crud in the bottom of the pan, but don’t let it burn.

  4. Add the tomato paste and brown for 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, chopped rosemary and thyme bundle. Stir frequently and cook until the wine has reduced by about half.

  5. Add the shanks back to the pot and pour in the water. The shanks should be submersed, if they are not, add more water. Add the bay leaves to the pan, cover and put in the preheated oven. The cooking time will be about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn the shanks over about halfway through the cooking time. Check the shanks every 45 minutes or so. If the liquid has reduced too much add more water. De-fat as you go.

  6. Remove the foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking time for maximum browning.

  7. Transfer to serving plates and garnish with Gremolata. Yum!

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