Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks
In the spirit of the Easter holiday, I decided to take my first stab at cooking lamb. Lamb is one of my favorite types of meat. Some people think it’s a bit “strong” or “gamey”, but it’s wonderful when prepared properly. It’s one of the main meats in Mediterranean cuisine and I could not get enough of it when I was visiting Greece. It’s pretty expensive to buy over here, and cooking lamb is not exactly easy either– you have to get it to a pretty specific temperature and that means watching it like a hawk. Ergo, we opted for the good ‘ole lamb shank as our cut of lamb, because it’s usually cheaper and easier to prepare. Hey, first time.
We picked our lamb shanks and herbs up from the Ferry Building – for all my DC readers, the Ferry Building is this amazing place with fresh farmer markets outside every Saturday and the inside has a ton of fresh produce, and other locally sourced products– Cowgirl Creamery, specialty olive oil places, the amazing coffee of Blue Bottle Coffee, and tons of other shops and restaurants. We selected our shank from Prather Ranch Meat Company. Don’t be alarmed if it looks really fatty, more than half of that will cook off.
This recipe looked lovely on allrecipes.com, but it did call for six lamb shanks and I’m always nervous when you alter a recipe that significantly. Yes, yes, mathematically you just decrease the portions…I’m just a firm believer that it doesn’t always work like that. This one however ended up turning out very nicely. Our only change would be to crock-pot it up and let it simmer for eight hours so the meat is practically dripping off the bone.
- 6 lamb shanks
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 large carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (750 milliliter) bottle red wine
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
- 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
- 1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
- 5 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- Sprinkle shanks with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook shanks until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer shanks to plate.
- Add onions, carrots and garlic to pot and saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in wine, tomatoes, chicken broth and beef broth. Season with rosemary and thyme. Return shanks to pot, pressing down to submerge. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover, and simmer until meat is tender, about 2 hours.
- Remove cover from pot. Simmer about 20 minutes longer. Transfer shanks to platter, place in a warm oven. Boil juices in pot until thickened, about 15 minutes. Spoon over shanks.
You’ll find this a pretty common recipe on the interwebs and that lamb shanks are usually served braised, so if you’re like me and tackling this tricky meat for the first time, this might be the way to go. My grandmother used to make a really delicious lamb roast so I think that’s next up for me in the world of lamb.