Lamb shanks is a meal just unusual enough to make a real impression at your next dinner party (just look at that well-caramelized crust!). You can get the heavy lifting out of the way the day before and just reheat the meat and sauce at the last. For the same reason, it also makes the perfect Sunday Roast/Sunday Lunch, that great British tradition.
The Sunday Roasts of my childhood were usually beef (my father's favorite) or pork. Only occasionally would it be lamb (my mother's favorite). Since then I've encountered so much badly prepared lamb that I've quite gone off it! Then I heard from my favorite organic grassfed rancher (well, no, *he* isn't grassfed, but his cattle are!) in Wyoming that they now offer organic grassfed lamb humanely raised on a family farm and ranch in Montana.
Rocky Mountain Organic Meats, a great company you've read about here before, sent me the four lamb shanks. Not wanting to waste this very special meat on people who wouldn't fully appreciate it, I polled my friends who are into organic grassfed meat to see which ones especially like lamb. I chose well! The happy recipients loved the flavor of the wine-braised lamb and the falling-off-the-bone tenderness of it.
If you've never cooked lamb, be prepared for its distinctive smell. Some people (such as the friends I was cooking for) will walk into a kitchen where lamb is cooking and think it has a heavenly aroma; others (such as myself!) will think it has a gamey odor. Which camp are you in?
Are you a lamb lover? Rocky Mountain Organic Meats is going to ship 4 organic grassfed lamb shanks to one of my readers! Will it be you? See bottom of the post for giveaway details. For your convenience, the organic grassfed lamb shanks and other Rocky Mountain Organic Meats can also be ordered through Amazon!
Wine-Braised Lamb Shanks
4 lamb shanks (about 3 1/2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 or more cloves garlic, halved
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bottle drinkable dry red wine, divided
1 cup chicken broth
Make day ahead so you can chill the braising liquid and easily remove the layer of fat.
1 Heat oil in heavy pot large enough to hold the lamb shanks in a single layer. I use a 5.5-quart Le Creuset round French oven and brown the shanks two at a time (and later set them on their narrow sides to fit into the pan for braising). Sprinkle the first side of the 4 shanks with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add to hot oil and brown well, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes, sprinkling second side with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove to platter.
2 Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic to pot. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brown the vegetables, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, herbs and tomato paste; cook for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups wine and broth; bring to a boil.
3 Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add lamb shanks to pot, and return to the boil, adding more broth or water if the shanks are not halfway submerged. Cover pan with foil and lid; simmer in oven for 2 1/2 hours.
4 Transfer shanks to an oven-to-table casserole. I use a 2.5-quart oval CorningWare casserole. Strain braising liquid into a 4-cup glass measure, pressing out liquids from solids; discard solids. For easy removal of fat, refrigerate braising liquid overnight or long enough for the fat to solidify. Do not skip this step -- the braising liquid will be extremely fatty and must be thoroughly defatted.
5 Remove layer of fat from chilled sauce. In small sauce pan, bring the remaining wine to the boil; reduce by a third. Stir in the defatted sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pour over shanks in casserole. Refrigerate until one hour before serving time.
6 One hour before serving, heat covered casserole in preheated 300-degree oven for 1 hour.
One winner will receive 4 grassfed organic lamb shanks from Rocky Mountain Organic Meats. All continental US residents who leave a comment (one entry per person - and please include your email address in the body of your comment) on this post before 11:59 pm Eastern time Wednesday August 7 will be put into a random drawing. Winner will be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday August 8. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by 11:59 am Eastern time Sunday August 11, another drawing will be held and a new winner selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline).
Disclosure: Product was sent to me for review purposes. I was not required to post about it and received no compensation for doing so. And, in case you don't know me, there is no amount of money or free product that can induce me to say something I don't mean!