Oh yeah, you go ahead and drool, this was totally drool-worthy! I am a big fan of braising meat, smelling those wonderful aromas as tough cuts of meat break down until they are falling off of the bone they are so tender. A few weeks ago, I noticed lamb shanks in the freezer section of my wonderful local butcher. I had never seen them there before, and as everything is always so fresh and good from there, I didn't even hesitate over the thought about how to cook them before snatching them up. The woman helping me actually gave me a photocopied recipe that I used as inspiration here. Braising the lamb shanks does take a few hours, but they are so delicious, it is time well spent. This would be a fabulous dish to serve for Easter dinner.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes by Joie de vivre
4 Tbls. olive oil
4 lbs. lamb shanks (2 big shanks)
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 c. dry white wine
1 c. chopped tomatoes, drained
1/4 c. orange juice
about 1 quart chicken stock
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
4 small waxy potatoes, quartered and placed in cold water to cover
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the lamb shanks on all sides and set aside.
3. Add a little more olive oil to the Dutch oven if necessary and add the chopped onions. Cook until softened and starting to brown a little. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring.
4. Add the white wine, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in all the ingredients EXCEPT the lamb, salt and pepper, and the potatoes. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and pepper. Add the lamb. If needed, add water or more chicken stock to cover the lamb shanks.
5. Bring to a simmer, cover with the lid, and place the Dutch oven into the pre-heated oven for 1 hour.
6. After an hour, drain the potatoes and add them to the Dutch oven stirring a little so they are covered with the sauce.
7. Place the Dutch oven back into the oven and cook for an additional 2-3 hours until the meat on the lamb shank is falling off the bone and the potatoes are cooked through.
8. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Place the lamb shanks and the potatoes to a plate and set aside. Remove the bay leaves from the sauce, then use an immersion blender to puree the rest of the sauce. Serve this sauce as an accompaniment to the lamb and potatoes.