Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Braising the Roof - A Lamb Shank Dance Party
Braised Lamb in red wine, garlic, mirepoix, thyme, pepper... Thank you, I can die happy. This is a RICH dish, the lamb falls of the bone and melts in your mouth. You barely have to do anything, you lazy flops out there, no chewing is required. Even the cooking is easy as pie (though pie isn't really easy, who came up with that phrase?). To balance the richness of the dish, you MUST serve it with a full, red wine, please! Grape juice won't cut it here. Colores del Sol (Argentina), Malbec was perfect, but a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Bordeaux (if you want to get fancy) will do fine.
Braising is one of the most 'hard to screw up' cooking techniques on the planet. Take a tougher meat, immerse it in a great tasting liquid and cook for a long time. That's it really, you can make endless substitutions and it will still come out amazing. The only thing you need is time, and if you're lounging around the house on a weekend (as I was) you're set.
Braised Lamb Shank
Serve as an appetizer wrapped in crepes with a shoot or two of watercress for bite.
orrr... serve on dill couscous or steamed new potatoes. Anything goes.
6 Lamb Foreshanks(their meatier)if you can get them
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
3 Tbs plus 1/2 cup olive oil
2 ribs celery
1 large spanish onion
1 small can tomato paste
5 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs black peppercorns
3 anchovy fillets
1 head garlic, cut each clove in half
2 cups good red wine(not expensive, but not bad)
1 cup dry white wine (as above, not bad wine please)
1/3 c white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
4 cups chicken stock(or 2c chick + 2c veal stock if you can find it)
preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Season lamb with salt/pepper. Cut lamb shanks 1 inch from tapered end to expose the bone for cooking. Roughly chop all veggies(your mirepoix).
Heat 3 Tbs oil in pot over medium-high heat, add veggies, cook till soft (careful not to singe). Add tomato paste, cook 1-2 min. Add herbs, peppercorns, anchovy cook another 2-3 min. Add wines, vinegar and sugar, raise heat up to boil. Lower heat to med and add the stock. Leave over med heat while you brown the shanks in another pan.
In a big frying pan saute shanks in 1/2 cup oil, brown on 3 sides(1 min per side ish).
Transfer shanks to big roasting pan and pour the stock/wine liquid over top. Put lid on roaster or cover with foil. Cook for 1 hour covered.
Remove lid and cook for a further 3 hours turning the shanks every 1/2 hour until the meat is very tender.
Remove shanks from braising liquid. Strain liquid and skim fat off top, use this heavenly liquid as sauce for lamb.
This recipe is very forgiving for the creative chef, add in turnips or squash instead of carrots. Add only white wine or change the herbs to whatever you like.
I call on all you budding chef alchemists to experiment! Please send me any successful variations, thanks.