Recipe: Braised Lamb Shanks- Pastured Autumnal Lamb

Lamb, braised, pastured

This lamb melts at the site of a fork. Just allow plenty of cooking time, as in 6 hours, and worth every minute.

“I don’t eat lamb, it’s too gamey”, is a refrain I heard many times, even from my own family.  I like to believe if one doesn’t like lamb, they’ve never had it prepared correctly, but I’m biased, being Greek and a meat eater.  My family, including my kids, are now lamb lovers thanks to this dish; whew.  I served it with heirloom potatoes and carrots; recipe coming soon, picture below.

Tips- I used pastured, (grass fed) lamb, from my local Whole Foods, because it’s healthier than conventional; more omega 3′s, leaner, sustainable.  Save this meal for a cool Autumn Sunday afternoon, as it needs to cook on low heat for hours if you want to achieve savory, melt off the bone, transcendence.

What You’ll Need

Lamb, shanks or shoulder steaks, 1 per person

Onion, 1 large, chopped fine

Carrots, 3, chopped fine

Celery, 3 stalks, chopped fine

Garlic, 3-5 cloves, crushed

Tomatoes, stewed, 28 oz can (I use certified San Marzano)

Red wine, or port, 1/2 bottle

Sea salt & Pepper, to taste, (I’m generous with the salt)

Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, fresh, about 3 sprigs, or 3 tbsp each, or 1 tbsp each dried

Olive Oil, Extra Virgin, 4-5 tbsp

Good bread for dipping!

How To Prepare

In a large, heavy duty pot, I use a Le Creuset Dutch Oven, heat, heat 2 tbsp of the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the lamb on all sides. (Don’t salt the lamb or it will draw out water and prevent it from browning.) Take your time with this and don’t crowd the meat or it will steam instead of brown.

Meanwhile, finely chop the onion, carrots, celery, and crush the garlic. When the lamb is browned, remove to a plate, pour in the rest of the olive oil and saute the onions over low heat for 10 minutes.  Then add the carrots, celery and garlic, sauté for 5 more minutes.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees, place rack in the middle.  Chop the fresh herbs. Add the tomatoes to the pot, crushing them between your fingers, pour in the wine, and toss in the herbs, scrape the bits off the bottom, mix, and add the lamb with its juices.  Bring to a gentle pre boil (burping bubbles), and immediately place in the oven, covered. Check occasionally, stir, flip the meat, enjoy the aromas.  Remove after 6 hours, (It’s probably done after 2 hours, but 6 is when the magic happens), let sit for at least 30 minutes, covered. Serve with carrots and potatoes, or a favorite grain like orzo, or quinoa, or over mashed potatoes or turnips.  Bon Appetit!

potatoes and carrots, heirloom, sauteed

Sautéed Heirloom Potatoes and Carrots

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