Braised Lamb Shanks
Braised Lamb Shanks are one of my favorite comfort foods. As a child, I ate a lot of lamb. My mother called it my “babysitter” because I would feast on what was then called, “lamb combinations.” It was small pieces of lamb meat with bones that she would broil and serve to me. I would work for hours getting every little morsel of meat off those bones, often times falling asleep during the process.
Lamb shanks are a tough piece of meat compared to the tender rest of the lamb. However, when lamb shanks are slowly cooked in a red wine sauce with onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, garlic, and fresh herbs and served over garlic mashed potatoes, you have the ultimate comfort food that’s as welcoming as your cozy bed after a long day of work. The meat is so tender and juicy that it literally falls off the bone. I have sampled it to several people that insisted they didn’t like lamb and they went back for seconds and third servings exclaiming they never tasted lamb like this before! The vegetables are coarsely-cut large pieces so they can withstand the long cooking process and don’t disintegrate into the broth. The cloves of garlic are left whole and not smashed so they can be spread like butter on the meat when served. This is truly an exceptional meal that is hard to beat.
Prep Time: 20 minutes Searing Time: 20 minutes Oven Time: 2 1/2 hours Oven temperature: 350 degrees Servings: 6
- 6 medium-size lamb shanks (1 lb+ each) at room temperature.
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 large sweet onion quartered and then halved again.
- 6 medium-size carrots cut every 2″.
- 6 large cloves of garlic (more if you choose).
- 1 bottle of good red wine (merlot is what I use).
- 2 cups of good quality beef stock.
- 1 cup of good quality chicken stock.
- 3 heaping teaspoons tomato paste.
- 1 6″ piece of fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary).
- 8 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme).
- 2 Bay leaves.
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper.
- Remove lamb shanks from the refrigerator 1-2 hours to ensure they are room temperature prior to cooking.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heavily salt and pepper each lamb shank. (The extra salt and pepper will remain in the pan and be removed later.)
- Heat a Dutch oven over high heat.
- Add olive oil and sear each shank on all sides until golden brown and set aside.
- Remove excess oil and residue salt and pepper from pan.
- Add onions, carrots, and garlic to the pan and saute until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes.
- Add wine and cook until its reduced by half.
- Add chicken and beef stock, tomato paste, rosemary, and thyme and combine.
- Bring mixture to a boil for 3 minutes.
- Reintroduce the lamb shanks to the mixture.
- Place Dutch oven in the preheated oven
- Braise the lamb shanks for 2 1/2 hours.
- Skim the excess fat off the top of the cooking mixture.
- Using about a cup of the mixture along with some of the vegetables, puree the mixture with a mixer or emulsion blender over a medium-high heat.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of Wondra Gravy Flour into 1/2 cup of milk and add it slowly to the mixture while continually stirring until you reach the desired consistency for a delicious gravy.
- Remove remaining vegetables and set aside
- Place the remaining mixture in a saucepan and reduced the mixture by half.
- This gave my family and friends the option of a rich flavorful sauce, or a velvety gravy to put over their lamb shanks.
- Served with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables.
- Garnished with fresh Italian parsley. Bon Appetit!!!