Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Lamb has Risen (from the freezer)

Efforts to eat my way to the bottom of the freezer revealed a lost and lonely package of lamb shanks. Good timing, as lamb has long been associated with Easter. Shanks are a tough and lean cut of meat, perfect for a long, slow braise. Read my food column in the Star Phoenix.

This lamb was raised on a farm at Langham, a breed called Katahdin, which has mild tasting meat. The farmer sells her lambs in the spring by the half or whole, cut and wrapped. For those who don't have the desire or space to purchase lamb in bulk, you can also buy Katahdin lamb from Pine View Farms. My husband loved this dish:

Braised Lamb Shanks
3 tbsp canola oil
4 lamb shanks
2 large onions, chopped
5 large carrots, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 big potatoes, diced
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp crushed dry oregano
1/2 cup red wine (opt)
2 cups crushed tomatoes
2 cups water

Note about chopping vegetables: cut the carrots and potatoes into pieces about the same size as the chickpeas. There will be approximately two cups of each vegetable.

In an ovenproof pot with a lid, heat 2 tbsp of canola oil on the stove on medium high. Salt and pepper the lamb. Brown the lamb on all sides and remove from the pot. Turn down the heat and warm the remaining tbsp of oil. Stir in the onions and carrots, cooking until they soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, potatoes, chickpeas, rosemary and oregano. Sprinkle the vegetables generously with salt and pepper. Cook another few minutes.

Turn up the heat to medium high. Pour in the red wine and bubble until the liquid is almost gone. Nestle the lamb shanks into the vegetables. Pour on the crushed tomatoes and water. Cover the pot and bake in the oven at 325F for 2 1/2 hours. Taste the broth, adding more salt or pepper if needed.

To serve, two options: place a lamb shank on each plate and scoop on the vegetables or remove the meat from the bone, break into small pieces and stir back into the pot. If using this latter serving suggestion, you can economize and make this recipe with just two lamb shanks.


Anonymous said...

I don't have red wine, can I use this white wine instead?

Amy Jo Ehman said...

Yes, you can use white wine, preferably a dry white, not a sweet white. Enjoy!