2 lamb shanks
1 pound bonesreferably lamb, but if not, beef, veal or chicken
4 ounces Carrots
1 medium tomatoesroughly chopped
2 stalk celeryroughly chopped
1 medium onionroughly chopped
4 clove garlic
2 cups cabernet sauvignon wineor shiraz/syrah
Spring is sprung, and nothing speaks truer to the pre-summer soul than lamb, the ubiquitous meat source of infinite Easter buffets, spring celebrations and cook outs.
People are starting to cook with lamb more and more, and the trend is evidenced by the growing presence of lamb in our local meat lockers. While Julia Child and other classically trained chefs and cooks have always availed themselves with mounds of the stuff, it has gone by the wayside.
Why, pray tell, did this legendary meat seemingly disappear from the face of the earth, or at least in North America? Well, maybe Stouffer’s has something to do with it. Who knows? People have just veered away from this great animal in their quest for chicken, chicken and more chicken.
If you have never eaten lamb before, you should, with a few precautions which will help you decide whether you like it. First, do not try your luck on a rolled roast without first doing some homework. If you overcook it, you will get a liver-type blood taste, which turns many people off at the outset.
For the braised shanks, which I am cooking today, make sure that you get a good browning on them, and then cook them low and slow. Otherwise, they will be like shoe leather. In short, do your homework, and you will be happy that you tried it.
While braising is often a technique used in the cooler months, we still need to use the animal as it is butchered. So, spring or no spring, as we break the animal down, or purchase it from our butcher, we get to practice the age-old technique of braising.
Not too difficult in terms of execution, there are a few key times that need to be heeded in order to make this dish a success, so pay attention to the recipe. And when all is said and done, you will have enough lamb shank to feed a small army of people.
If you plan on having a dinner party with friends, serve this family style, as it will fall off the bone, allowing you to serve two to three people from each shank as part of a coursed meal.
For the money, lamb will give you flavors not available anywhere else, and that’s not a bad way to usher in the spring months.
- Heat a large casserole with some olive oil and butter to just-smoking. Make sure that the pot is large enough to hold all of your ingredients covered in liquid
- Season the shanks with the salt and pepper and sear the outsides to a nice dark brown. Set aside
- Sear the beef bones to a dark brown and set aside
- Add the vegetables and cook to pan roast them, giving them a nice golden color and allowing the natural sugars to caramelize
- Deglaze with the red wine and add the shanks, filling in the empty spaces with the bones
- Cover with stock, if you have it, or water
- Bring just barely to a boil and then immediately turn down to a steady and slow simmer, skimming the scum and fat off of the surface of your broth
- At this point, you can finish in a low to medium oven or if your covered casserole/Dutch oven is heavy enough, it can be finished on the range
- Cook at a low and steady simmer for 4 hours, checking periodically. The meat should fall off of the bone, but still be attached enough for you to handle. When ready, remove and set aside in a warm place
- Strain the broth, once through a sieve, and then again through the same sieve lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel
- Use some broth to moisten the shanks, and reduce the rest to a nice glace, adjusting seasoning as you go