Braised Lamb Shanks
Serve this with polenta, cous cous or mashed potatoes. If you add some peas to the mashed potatoes, you've got a nicely deconstructed shepherd's pie.
- 6 lamb shanks, 3/4 to 1 pound each, trimmed of excess fat
- Table salt
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 medium onions, sliced thick
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
- 2 medium ribs celery, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
- 4 medium cloves garlic , minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence, OR 1 teaspoon ea. dried thyme, rosemary & marjoram
- 2 cups red wine, preferably Shiraz
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Ground black pepper
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle shanks with salt. Heat oil in a large, nonreactive sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add shanks to pan in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding. Sauté until browned on all sides, 5-7 minutes. Using tongs, transfer shanks to a plate as they brown.
2. Drain all but 2 tablespoons fat from the sauté pan. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomato paste, a light sprinkling of salt and 1 teaspoon of the herbes de Provence. Sauté to soften vegetables slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add red wine, then chicken stock to the skillet, stirring with a wooden spoons to loosen browned bits from skillet bottom. Bring liquid to simmer; transfer vegetables and liquid into a deep braising pan, large enough to hold the shanks in a single layer. Add shanks, season with salt, pepper, and remaining herbes de Provence.
3. Cover pan (with foil if pan has no lid) and transfer it to the oven; braise shanks for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and continue braising until shank tops are browned, about 30 minutes. Turn shanks and continue braising until remaining side has browned and shanks are fall-off-the-bone tender.
4. Remove pan from oven, and let shanks rest for at least 15 minutes. Carefully transfer shanks with tongs to each of 6 plates. Arrange a portion of vegetables around each shank. Skim excess fat from braising liquid (or use a gravy separator) and adjust seasoning. Spoon a portion of braising liquid over each shank and serve.