Monday, March 3, 2008

Braised Lamb Shanks

At one point during my recent bout with the flu, I was so hungry after not being able to eat for far too many days that I pulled myself out of bed and pulled some lamb shanks out of the freezer.

A day or so later, after recovering from the above output of energy, I put this dish together using what was available in the pantry. No way was I going to the market.

Now I'm not saying that braised lamb shanks are good for what ails you. Certainly it's a rather heavy dish when one is trying to recover from illness. But I'd lost 6 pounds while not being able to eat and I was ravenous so I made them anyway. Plus the leftovers could see us through another few days. Thinking ahead.

Braised Lamb Shanks
Christine's original recipe
4 medium lamb shanks, trimmed of fat

1 large sweet onion, peeled, halved and sliced thin
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced in about 1/4-inch pieces
14 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, left whole
3 long sprigs fresh rosemary, stripped and coarsely chopped
1 28-ounce can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
14-ounces each, chicken broth and beef broth
1 bottle red wine (I used a Domaine de Fontsainte, Corbière 2003, but either a
Malbec or a Syrah would go nicely)
Olive oil for the pan
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350-degrees.
Heat a large cast iron pan over high heat then add about a tablespoon of olive oil.
Turn the heat to medium high and brown the shanks on all sides, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. Remove the browned shanks to a plate and keep warm.
Sauté the onions and carrots until the onions are softened.
Add the peeled garlic cloves and the chopped rosemary and sauté 1 minute more.
Add the tomatoes, stocks and wine to the skillet and give it a stir. Put the lamb shanks back in the skillet with whatever juices accumulated on the plate. Turn the shanks over in the sauce until they are coated on all sides.
Cover the skillet and put it in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the lamb is falling-off-the-bone tender.
Remove the lid during the last 1/2 hour of braising so the liquid can thicken.
Sop up the wonderful liquid with a crusty, chewy artisan bread that you've slathered with the braised garlic cloves. Then go back to bed.

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