Braised Lamb Shanks in a Rich Wine Sauce
Will the sun ever shine again? For those of you living in Atlanta I guess you feel as I do, we may as well be living in London. We have not seen the sun for the last 10 days, and it does not seem as if we will be seeing it this week! I don’t do well without sunshine. Not only is it dull and drab outside, but it is pretty cold too. So, what could be better than coming home to a delicious meal of slowly braised lamb shanks? Lucky for you …
It was Peter’s birthday a few weeks ago, and I always like to make the family the food they love to eat on their birthday. Peter has been nagging me to make lamb shanks for a while now, so I thought perfect opportunity. The lamb shanks I had were pretty large and very meaty, and I have learned from experience that they are best when they are cooked slowly in a rich sauce. As I thought about this I knew I needed to have a lot of rosemary in the sauce, as lamb and rosemary always go well, and then I thought about it and I remembered a lamb recipe I used to make with red wine. I combined the two ideas and a new recipe was created.
The day before I intended to braise the shanks I put them in a casserole dish and marinaded them. Then the following day, I browned the shanks, made the sauce, and braised them in the oven for 3 hours. The result according to the birthday boy “Delicious, the best you have ever made!”
“Marinade” (for 4 large lamb shanks)
1 large onion sliced into rings and then halved
salt, pepper and garlic powder
4 Tbs. roughly chopped rosemary to release the flavor
2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
4 Tbs, Cooking Wine
Season the lamb shanks on both sides generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Sprinkle the Rosemary over top of shanks.Sprinkle the 2 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar and wine over the shanks, Massage the spices into the shanks, Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Ingredients for Sauce
1 – 2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, diced + onion from marinade
4 – 5 carrots, diced or 1 lb. whole baby carrots
3 stick celery, diced
4 cloves crushed garlic
salt and pepper
2 cups good red wine (I like to cook with wine that you would drink with your meal)
1 12 oz. can tomato paste
2 Tbs. Finely chopped rosemary
10 – 12 branches of fresh thyme tied together with cooking string
3-4 cups water
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven pot or a stove top and oven proof casserole dish.
Remove the 4 shanks from the marinade and brown them on all sides in the hot oil. You may have to do 2 at a time depending on size of shanks and pot.
Remove shanks and set aside. Add the garlic to the oil and immediately add the onion, celery and carrot to the oil mixture. Cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
Season with salt and pepper.
Deglaze the bottom of the pot by adding the red wine to the vegetables and stirring to remove any pieces that have stuck to bottom of pan.
Add the can of tomato paste.
Add the water and the herbs, and mix well so that all the ingredients are blended.
Return the shanks to the sauce and make sure they are well coated in the sauce
Cover the pot with a lid or foil, and place in oven at 350 F.
Bake for 3 to 4 hours, till lamb is soft and “falling off” bone.
This dish is delicious served with steamed rice and vegetables.