Friday, June 17, 2011

My Favorite Recipes: Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans

I know this isn't exactly a summery recipe, but sometimes it doesn't matter what time of year you make a dish - it's delicious every time! This is one of my favorite lamb recipes, and it helps that lamb shanks are one of the cheapest cuts you can get.

This recipe looks slightly daunting, but it's easier than it seems. It just takes several hours because the shanks have to cook slow and long. Start these on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and you'll be good for dinner. Also, you can use canned beans! I normally do. Still simmer with broth, butter and veggies and season.

Drink this with a Pinot Noir. We're loving the Foursight 2007 All-In Charles Vineyard Pinot.


Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans

For lamb shanks:
  • 4 lamb shanks (about 1 pound each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped coarse
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped coarse
  • 1 celery rib, chopped coarse
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped coarse
  • 3 1/2 cups Bordeaux or other full-bodied red wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

For gremolata:
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (preferably flat-leafed)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

For beans:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped fine
  • 2 small carrots, chopped fine
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups cooked white beans (preferably Great Northern or navy)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 fresh tarragon sprigs

Preparation

Make lamb shanks:
Pat lamb shanks dry and season with salt and pepper. In an 8-quart heavy flameproof casserole heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown lamb shanks well in batches, transferring to a plate as browned. To casserole add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and sauté until onion is softened. Add wine and simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 3 cups. Return lamb shanks to casserole and stir in broth, tomato paste, and thyme. Bring liquid to a boil and simmer, covered, stirring and turning lamb shanks occasionally, 1 1/2 hours. Simmer mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 1 hour more, or until lamb shanks are tender. 

Make the gremolata while lamb is cooking:
In a small bowl stir together gremolata ingredients.
Make beans while lamb is cooking:
In a saucepan heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and cook onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, stirring, 2 or 3 minutes, or until softened. Add beans, 2 cups broth, butter, and bay leaf and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally and adding enough remaining broth to keep beans moist and to reach a creamy consistency, about 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf and add half of gremolata and salt and pepper to taste. 

Transfer lamb shanks to a plate and keep warm, covered with foil. Strain braising liquid through a sieve into a saucepan, discarding solids, and stir in butter and tarragon. Boil sauce, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly. Strain sauce through sieve into a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Sprinkle lamb shanks with remaining gremolata and serve with beans and sauce. 

Recipe originally from Epicurious.com

1 comment:

Hilda said...

I love lamb shanks especially with my cabernet savignon red wine.