Braised Lamb Shanks. When we are looking for a comfort food that works all year round, my husband will often make his Braised Lamb Shanks. This is one of those dishes that takes several hours to simmer and makes the house smell wonderful. Slow-braised lamb shanks are served over mashed potatoes and draped with a red wine sauce.
Braising meats is a wonderful activity. I love to braise pork chops for pork carnitas and to braise buffalo for shredded buffalo tacos. During the braising process, the meat will soften and tenderize due to slow cooking in liquid. You can even braise jackfruit for jackfruit carnitas tacos!
Get out your Dutch oven or a similar-sized cooking pot. Make sure the pot is large enough for all the shanks and enough room for them to braise. Start out by heating some vegetable oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Using tongs, sear the shanks on all sides until browned. You don’t want to cook them through, just brown them. Remove the shanks to a holding plate. In the same Dutch oven, lower the heat and add some diced carrot, onion, and celery. Cook and let the vegetables soften. Add some garlic and butter and cook a few minutes. Then add a small amount of tomato sauce, stirring until the mixture starts to brown. Return the lamb shanks to the pan on top of the vegetables. Add chicken stock, red wine and Herbes de Provence. Ensure that the lamb shanks are almost covered by the liquid.
Cover and simmer over low heat for up to 3 hours or until the meat is tender and almost falling off the bone. Check and turn the shanks every 20 – 30 minutes adding more chicken stock or wine as needed.
While the lamb shanks are braising, make some mashed potatoes. When the potatoes are done, keep them warm. Be sure to ladle the pan sauce over the shanks while they are braising.
When the shanks are done, remove them to a holding plate. Strain the pan sauce into a smaller sauce pan discarding the vegetable solids. Over medium heat, reduce the sauce in half, whisking so it doesn’t burn. When the sauce is reduced, whisk in a pat of butter.
Plate the mashed potatoes.
Arrange the lamb shanks on top of the mashed potatoes.
Drape the reduced red wine sauce over the shanks and potatoes.
Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve! Offer with a dry red wine and a side salad.
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Braised Lamb Shanks
2 large lamb shanks (approx 300g or 10 oz each) – be sure they will fit in your Dutch oven or cooking pot
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 carrot, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled, each cut into thirds
2 tablespoons butter
1 heaping tablespoon tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence spice blend
2 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley to garnish
2 c Easy Mashed Potatoes
Special equipment: Covered 5-quart Dutch oven pot for cooking
1. Season the lamb shanks on all sides with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in the Dutch oven pot on the stove over medium heat.
3. Sear the lamb shanks on all sides in the oil until they have browned. You do not want to cook the shanks, just brown them. Remove from pot, place on a plate, and set aside.
4. Drain some of the fat from the pot and discard.
5. Reduce heat to medium low, add the carrot, onion, and celery to the Dutch oven pot and sweat them until soft.
6. When the vegetables are soft, add the garlic pieces and the butter and sauté a minute or two.
7. Stir in the tomato sauce and keep stirring until the mixture is slightly browned.
8. Place the lamb shanks on top of the vegetable mixture.
9. Add the chicken stock, red wine, and herbes de provence spices. Add some water to bring the liquid level up to almost covering the lamb shanks.
10. Cover and simmer over low heat. Check and turn shanks over every 20 – 30 minutes for even braising.
11. While the shanks are cooking, make the mashed potatoes.
12. Cook the shanks until they are very tender, 2.5 to 3 hours. Add additional chicken broth or wine if the liquid evaporates too much. You do want some liquid left over to make a sauce.
13. When the shanks are done, remove them to a holding plate and keep warm.
14. Strain the liquid in the Dutch oven pot into a smaller saucepan, discarding the vegetable solids. There should be more than a cup of liquid. If not, add more chicken stock or wine.
15. Over medium heat, reduce the liquid by half to make a thicker sauce. Keep stirring to prevent burning. For extra decadence, whisk in a pat of butter to the sauce before serving.
16. Ladle some mashed potatoes onto each serving plate. Arrange the lamb shanks over the mashed potatoes. Use a spoon or small ladle to drape the braised lamb shanks and mashed potatoes with the pan sauce. Garnish with the finely chopped parsley and serve.
Serves 2 as a main course. Offer with a dry red wine and my Apple Chopped Salad with Toasted Pecans and Goat Cheese. Double or triple this recipe for more hungry diners.
Variations: Try using beef shortribs instead of lamb shanks. You could also use beef shanks if you can find them. Serve over buttered noodles instead of mashed potatoes.
Order a dutch oven of your own from Amazon.com:
Get some Herbes de Provence spices from Amazon.com:
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