Lamb Shanks

March 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

This is a really easy, hands off recipe with outstanding results. The lamb was falling off the bone after two and a half hours, and the flavour of the swiss chard/sauce mixture was fantastic.  It’s a great dish to throw together if you have people coming over for dinner on the weekend- most of the prep and cooking happens a few hours before it’s served, and it made my apartment smell delicious!

I cooked it with three lamb shanks and kept the same amount of sauce- if you are doing six shanks, I recommended doubling the sauce (keep the swiss chard to two bunches though).

Directions slightly modified from the original recipe from Bon Appétit here

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided
  • 6 1- to 1 1/4-pound lamb shanks
  • Generous amount of olive oil for the pan
  • 12 green onions, chopped, divided
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) beef broth
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled in your hand
  • Large pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds Swiss chard (about 2 bunches)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 5.25-ounce packages bulgur (about 2 cups), prepared according to package directions (you could also use mashed potatoes, couscous, or quinoa)

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.

    Mix flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in pie dish to blend. Coat lamb shanks in seasoned flour. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the lamb shanks until brown (in batches if necessary) about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a roasting pan – keep using the skillet.

    Add half of your green onions to same skillet. Reduce the heat to low and stir for two minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice, broth, raisins, tomato paste, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon cardamom, saffron, and cloves (it makes sense to mix these all together beforehand). Increase heat and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Pour the mixture over lamb, or add the lamb to the skillet if it’s oven proof and large enough.

    Cover roasting pan/skillet with foil and place in oven. Braise lamb until tender, turning every 30 minutes, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove the lamb and set it aside aside.

    Meanwhile, cut center rib (including stem portion) from each chard leaf. Cut chard ribs crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces. Stack several leaf halves at a time and cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips.

    Tilt roasting pan/skillet and spoon off all fat from top of sauce that pools at lower end. Set roasting pan/skillet over 2 burners. Add chard ribs and remaining green onions and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Return lamb to roasting pan. Cover and return to oven. Braise until chard ribs are tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover; mix chard leaves into pan juices. Return pan to oven and roast uncovered until chard softens, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

    Transfer lamb to rimmed platter. Season chard mixture in pan to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon chard mixture over lamb. Sprinkle with parsley; serve with bulgur, mashed potatoes,  couscous, or quinoa.

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