I was looking over a cookbook that I purchased a few months back from a bookstore bargain bin. The title of the book is How to Cook Meat by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby. The Missus happened to peek over my shoulder and noticed this braised lamb recipe...and it was off to North Park Produce, for lamb shanks, olives, and all the other supplies for this dish. I've made a few adjustments to account for our taste preferences, and also to cut down on the amount of skimming, and other tasks that are done several times in the recipe, it didn't seem necessary. I think it came out pretty well, and went well with our current overcast and cool weather.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Lemons, Tomatoes, and Green Olives
5-6 Lamb Shanks
2 Tb Olive Oil
2 Onions Sliced
2-6 Cloves Garlic, minced(depends on how much you love garlic - guess how many cloves I used?)
1/2 Cup Diced Celery(About 2-3 stalks)
2 Cups White Wine
2 Cups Chicken Stock, or even better Lamb Stock
6 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 Tb Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 Bay Leaves
2 Whole Cloves
3 Lemons(or 2 large) peeled and segmented
2-4 Tomatoes, cored and seeded, cut into a large dice
1/2 Lb Green Olives, rinsed, pitted, and sliced in half
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 - Preheat Oven to 325
2 - Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper and brown over medium-high heat in Olive Oil in a Dutch Oven, or similar pot. I had to do this in batches.When the lamb shanks are browned well, transfer to a plate.
3 - Pour off excess fat in the pot(leave about 2 Tb), and add sliced onions, celery, and garlic.Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Deglaze pot with white wine and stock(if you have lamb stock, more power to you!) scraping up all the nice brown bits. Bring liquid up to a simmer and add lamb shanks back into the pot along with the sprigs of fresh thyme, bay leaves, and cloves.
4 - When the liquid is simmering, cover and place the pot into the oven. Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, checking the lamb for doneness with a fork.
5 - When the lamb shanks are done, transfer them to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Strain the cooking liquid, and pour it back into the pot. Bring the liquid back to a simmer, skim off the fat from the braising liquid and slightly reduce the liquid. Add green olives and tomatoes into the liquid and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lemon segments, and cook for 5 more minutes. Add shanks back into liquid and simmer over low heat for a few more minutes.
6 - Remove the pot from heat,add in Thyme leaves, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
7 - Serve over Couscous.
The dish turned out well, and fulfills my "cookbook obligation"....to limit the purchase of cookbooks, I have promised to make at least one dish from each cookbook I purchase. I'm still trying to figure out what I'll be able to make from Yoshihiro Murata's, Kaiseki......
A kind of funny thing happened at North Park Produce....not really paying attention, I asked the guy behind the meat counter for 6 lamb shanks....I guess he heard 6 pounds of lamb shanks. When I brought the bag home and opened it 9 lamb shanks rolled out. So I browned three of the lamb shanks without seasoning, and the Missus made braised lamb shanks and rice for Da Boyz.....in my next life, I want to be one of Da Boyz! Though the food coma can be really hard on you!