Thursday, July 7, 2016

Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank

So I sent out the hubby to pick up a bottle of red the other week, and he came home with... well, with something I could only stomach one glass of. Sorry, dear. It's the thought that counts.

But being someone who can't let anything go to waste, I had to figure out a recipe to use it all up. I mean, it's a lot of wine, and good or not, we don't waste wine in this house! Luckily at our farmer's market this past Sunday, our local lamb vendor had some gorgeous looking lamb shanks. I have to admit I'd never cooked them myself before, being that lamb isn't that widely available in America, but I took the well-beloved classic recipe for osso bucco (hailing to my Italian roots) and tweaked it a smidge. The result: A rich, hearty dish that is so satisfying on a cold rainy day - aka, summer in the North.

It's a great set-it-and-forget it kind of meal, because it takes about 10 minutes of prep and then you don't need to fuss with it at all, just let it slowly roast away in the oven for a few hours. I imagine you could make it in a slow cooker, too, but then it might end up looking a bit anemic instead of lovely and browned.

The ingredients are fairly simple: 2 (or 4) lamb shanks; a large sprig of fresh rosemary; 1 cup of dry red wine; 1 cup of organic chicken stock (or vegetable); 1/2 one red onion, chopped; 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar.

Season the lamb with salt & pepper. In a large enameled pot, brown the lamb shanks in olive oil for 2-3 minutes on each side over medium high heat. Remove from the pot, reduce the heat slightly and add the onion & garlic. Stir for several minutes until the onion begins to brown; then add the balsamic vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to deglaze it. Return the lamb shanks to the pan, add the rosemary, red wine, and stock, and place in the oven at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 5 for 1 1/2 - 2 hours (or until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender). I turned the meat every half hour, but if you want to set it & forget it, this step isn't really necessary. Remove the lid for the last 10 minutes or so to brown the meat, and voila!

Best served with lovely seasonal greens, such as asparagus, haricots vert, or broccoli rabe, and a yummy root vegetable (I chose simply boiled little carrots with 1tsp honey and butter to glaze).

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