Thanks to my friend the beekeeper and her lovely farmer friends at Rising Moon Farm in Zumbrota, MN (http://www.risingmoonfarm.com/) Tina is going to have her most favorite dinner this evening!
I don't like lamb much, actually not at all. I have very bad memories of Easter lamb dinners from growing up. My mother might have served lamb once, one Easter lamb dinner. The house smelled all day long and I didn't like the smell, nor did I like the rich meat. It only takes one experience for me to mount a life time of attitude! I am not proud of that characteristic, especially since it spills out way beyond my food preferences. I am committed to working on giving second chances so I might give these a try. That is, if Tina will share.
Tina, she loves lamb and since I love her I am willing to grill lamb chops and braise shanks even if braising does evoke the memory of that awful Easter dinner. I stumbled on a recipe for braised lamb shanks years ago in the Union Square Cafe Cookbook. Apparently they are wonderful and I can imagine the long, slow cooking ensures fork-tender, fall-from-the-bone lamb. Given the noise that takes place when Tina sits down to this dinner, I know it is a winner.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Garlic and Herbs
6 garlic cloves
4 lamb shanks (From Rising Moon Farm if you can get your hands on them!)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour (rice flour if making gluten-free)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped parsly
1 cup white wine
3 cups veal stock (I use Chef Sid's Innovative Cuisine Veal Demi Glacé which is GF)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cut one of the cloves of garlic in half and rub the lamb shanks with the halves. Cut remaining garlic into thin slices, set aside. Season the shanks with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, dredge in flour. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large ovenproof skillet. Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides. Remove the shanks from the pan and set aside. Toss the onions and sliced garlic into the pan and saute 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add the herbs and cook 3 minutes. Add the wine, rise the heat to high and reduce by half. Stir in veal stock, season with remaining salt and pepper. Place shanks in the pan, cover and bake for two hours, until the meat is fork tender. Uncover the pan and turn the oven up to 500 degrees. Let the lamb shanks brown in the oven for 20 minutes, basting the meat thoroughly with the pan gravy every five minutes. Remove the shanks from the pan, keep them covered and warm. Strain the pan gravy into a bowl and, using a bulb baster or ladle, skim the fat. Return the gravy to the pan and reduce by half over high heat. Transfer the lamb shanks to a warm serving platter. Spoon gravy over the shanks or serve gravy in a sauceboat on the side.