Braises, Dinner, Entree, Lamb, Main Course, One Dish Dinners

Shank’d Again – Braised Lamb Shanks

I’d love everyone to think I buy from only the best local suppliers, the most humane breeders, the zero-hormone purveyors. But that’s just not the way life is for most people that budget for their groceries. Buying an $18 natural feed, pasture-raised roasting hen is out right stupid when you have anywhere from 8 to 14 meals to prepare every week, 5 to 15 school bagged lunches to shove out the door, paper products, toothpaste, soap, new socks, Q-Tips… and the plethora of other unexciting additions that make it to the shopping list every week.

I make no apologies for it – I bargain shop for meat.

The twice-marked down chuck roast? … toss it in the cart

Chicken coop accident and you have to cull down a 100 smothered chickens? … put me down for 12

You thought Dahlonega was hip & happening, and would lap up the 80 lbs of bison you brought in?  … sure, I’ll take it off your hands for 10 cents on the dolla’.

you get the picture…  In today’s economy, meaty proteins are just getting outrageous; I’ve watched beef prices climb from $4 to $8 for average cuts of cow. So anything I can do to pad our monthly grocery allowance – I’m gonna do.

(Enter Mr. I-Don’t-Know What-The-Hell-I’m-Doing Butcher)

For some unknown reason, two days before Labor Day the meat counter was flush with lamb shanks. Because nothing says end of summer BBQ like chewy, chewy lamb legs… right? I saw them – then immediately started looking for something to do with them…. because I knew

Sure enough, 10 days later the glorious SALE banner appears, and it’s time to stock up. I got 2 for 75% off.

It’s no surprise by now that I love braises. Slow, long cooking dissolving all that good good connective tissue and fat into silky, tender, deliciousness – and shanks are built for braising…. it just isn’t possible to overcook them.

This recipe is based on  Tori Ritchie’s Lamb Shanks with White Beans (you can find the original recipe HERE) – but like most everything I cook, I’ve made alterations to suit my taste, dietary concerns… and what I happen to have on hand.

Braise 3

Braised Lamb Shanks

with Black Beans and Chick Peas

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients

2 Lamb Shanks (Ask your butcher to break them 1/2 way down the shank if they aren’t pre-cut)

For the Rub:

Zest from 1 Orange

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Rosemary

1 Clove Garlic – Minced

For the Braise:

Olive Oil

2 Spanish Onions – Sliced Thinly

1/2 Cup Canned Chick Peas – Drained

1/2 Cup Canned Black Beans – rinsed and drained

1 Cup Champagne

1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme

14 ounce Can Petite Diced Tomatoes

1/2 Cup Water

Prepped Lamb shanks

Preheat the oven to 450

Mix together the rub ingredients

Pat the shanks dry and drizzle with oil.  Rub ALL the salty stuff over and into the shanks

Place in a shallow roasting pan and place on the bottom shelf of the oven for 20 minutes

– turning them over occasionally to insure they’re browned evenly on all sides

Braising 1

Reduce the oven to 325

Remove the shanks from the pan and set aside

Transfer the roasting pan to the cooktop  and set the burner to medium high

Add the onions, champagne, water, and thyme and bring to a boil to remove all the crusty bits off the bottom of the pan

Transfer everything to a dutch oven with lid

Add the tomatoes

Place the shanks into the dutch oven, cover tightly and place in the 325 oven for 1 hour

pasta 1

In the meantime (since it’s going to be a while…) make pasta

After the hour

Add the beans and stir gently to mix them into the braising liquid

Place back in the oven to 2 to 2 1/2 hours – or until the meat pulls easily from the shank bones

Remove from the oven, cook your swanky fresh-made pasta, and serve with big chunks of crusty Tuscan Bread

DSCN2804