Those days in my mind are the best days for spending some time in the kitchen, slow-cooking a hearty meal and enjoying the aromas that are drifting throughout your home. It’s the coziest and most comforting feeling to me. Usually my husband has a fire going all day long in the fireplace, which amplifies this whole hunkering down situation.
This recipe could possibly be my death row meal. Of course, I do not plan on ever being on death row! It just means that it is THAT good that, if I had to pick my last meal…this might be it.
Slowly braise meaty, kind of yabba dabba doo looking lamb shanks in a rich, umami-laden red wine sauce. The sauce has so much depth I can’t even stand it!
There is nothing difficult about braising. Most of the time is hands-off while the meat slowly simmers in the sauce, reducing, becoming a phenomenon.
This is how I get when something is really, really good. I can hardly write about it because just thinking about this dish brings about 27 different emotions over me. #foodieproblems
You need something to put more of this sauce on. Here I used a medley of celery root, parsnip and Yukon golds. I like a good puree that isn’t too starchy. A side of quickly sautéed kale with lemon and garlic is the perfect balance to all those sultry flavors from the lamb.
This is a meal you need in your life. Splurge on a decent bottle of red, some for the sauce and the rest for you. Stay in your comfy clothes and spend a little time in the kitchen. Find your favorite spot on the couch while these lamb shanks get ready to change your life. It’s going to happen.
- 4-6 lamb shanks, about 4-5 pounds total
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 anchovies
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 large sprig rosemary
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried orange zest
- 1 cup full-bodied red wine (I used Bogel’s Old Vine Red Zinfandel)
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 1 pound russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 celery root (about the size of a softball) peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ pound parsnips, peeled and diced
- 1 large clove garlic, smashed
- 4 thyme sprigs
- Milk (enough to just cover the vegetables in the pan)
- Lemon or orange zest
Season the lamb shanks liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a 5 QT SmartSteam™. Sear the shanks in batches (they will not brown if you overcrowd the pan), browning about 5 minutes on each side. Once all of the shanks are browned, set them off to the side.
Add the onion, carrots, anchovies and garlic to the pan, sautéing over medium heat until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, cooking for 2 minutes. Mix in the paprika, orange zest and rosemary. Pour in the wine and bring it to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Add the stock, honey and lamb shanks back to the pan. Once the mixture starts to simmer, cover the pan with the lid and simmer (with the valve open) for 3-3½ hours, or until the lamb is fork tender.
Remove the lid and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, letting the sauce reduce.
Meanwhile, add the potatoes, celery root, parsnip, garlic and thyme to a 3 QT SmartSteam™. Add enough milk to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Strain the vegetables from the milk and remove the thyme sprigs. Place the vegetables in a blender or food processor and add about half of the milk. Process, adding more milk until the vegetables are smooth and the desired consistency is reached. You may use all of the milk. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the lamb shanks to a platter. Using an immersion blender, blend the braising liquid until it is rich and smooth.
Serve the lamb shanks over the puree, topping with the braising liquid. Garnish the lamb with parsley and citrus zest.