Braised Lamb Shanks

Kirstin, It's Not You, It's Brie

Although throughout the cold months I long for the sweet tomatoes, easy salads and barbeques that make summer cooking so simple and carefree, come July and August I miss winter braises. The scent of red wine, herbs and meat cooking at low temperatures warms my heart the same way a plate of mom-cooked chocolate chip cookies cooling on the counter would a college student’s who’s returning home for Christmas. And the silken bone marrow that will greet me at the end of braising lamb shanks? I dream of it all summer.

When braising, I like to keep it simple. The end of spring supplies us with fresh lamb, so I braise with a blend of red wine, tomatoes, garlic and the classic French mirepoix of onions, carrots and celery, with a few fresh herbs thrown in. Have your butcher cut the shanks into halves or thirds for cooking and eating ease. The shanks are fantastic served over a creamy dish that holds the saucy brasiing liquid, like polenta, mashed potatoes celery root and potato puree. With a side salad, you’ve got a great, incredibly filling meal.

Braised Lamb Shanks
By Kirstin
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

3 pounds lamb shanks, each cut in halves or thirds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 yellow onions
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 celery ribs, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 bottle red wine
28 can chopped tomatoes
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs sage

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Season the lamb shanks liberally with some of the salt and pepper. Dredge lightly in flour.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed casserole pot with a lid big enough to hold the shanks and vegetables. Brown the shanks for about 3 minutes each side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onions to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the meat back in. Pour the wine and the tomatoes in the pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, add the rosemary and sage and the remaining salt and pepper, cover and cook in the oven for around 3 to 4 hours, until the meat falls from the bone and the sauce has thickened.

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