Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mary Ate a Little Lamb

I use my photo file as a screen saver for my lapto and I spotted these lamb shanks I made back in October. I did a search through the old blog and couldn't find any reference. Now I'm craving lamb shanks. Especially this recipe. My cousin went to culinary school in the 90s and made a dish similar to this for the whole family. I played her soux chef, but the magic was all hers. It was the best lamb dish I've ever had.

Lisa used a leg of lamb she got through her school and I have never had the exact recipe, but I set out to recreate what I remembered. I used lamb shanks, bacon, tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, celery, carrot, onion, garlic and black olives.

I buzzed the veggies in my food processor to get things rolling along quickly. The veggies cook down into the sauce, so they don't have to be chopped pretty.

Brown some chopped bacon in a big pot to render the fat. Use the fat to brown the lamb shanks on all sides. I just seasoned them with kosher salt and pepper. If you use a paper towel to dry the meat it will brown better. This step adds a bunch of flavor to the finished dish.

Remove the bacon and browned shanks and put the veggies in the pot. Use a little olive oil if you think things might stick. You're just looking to soften the vegetables a bit.

Throw the shanks and bacon back into the pool and dump in tomatoes, tomato paste and beef broth. You can add a bit more salt and pepper too, but don't overdo the salt. You'll add salty olives at the end. If you hate olives leave them out. Cover your pot slightly and let simmer for a couple of hours. You could place the whole pot in the oven as well. You want that lamb to cook long enough to fall off the bone. Cool the shank and give it to your dog to take outside. You won't see him for hours.

The sauce thickens naturally during the cooking process, but if it seems thin, let it boil gently on the stove uncovered. It will thicken and make a beautiful ragu. I add olives toward the end of the cooking process so they don't fall apart. I remove the meat from the bone and toss it in the sauce, but you could serve one shank per person if you want to make a great display. I like this served on creamy polenta, but you could serve it on egg noodles, mashed potatoes, pasta, or just eat it out of a bowl.

1 comment:

  1. Imagine poor Bones with that lamb bone that is bigger than he is! LOL. Such a wonderful dish, Michele!


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