BRAISED LAMB SHANKS
Osteria: Hearty Italian Fare from Rick Tramonto's Kitchen
by Rick Tramonto & Mary Goodbody
Stinco d'Agnello Brasato
(Braised Lamb Shanks)
Lamb shanks are not the easiest cuts of meat to find, and so when I see them I buy them in some quantity and freeze them at home. This way, I can make braised lamb shanks any time I want, which is a bonus because nothing tastes better. Look for meaty ones, as they tend to be bony. Like most of the braises in this chapter, I cool the meat in the braising liquid and then reheat it, either the same day as cooking it or a day or two later. This way the moisture and flavor get absorbed right back into the meat, and it tastes best.
· Four 12-ounce lamb shanks
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 1 cup vegetable oil
· 2 carrots, peeled and diced
· 2 celery ribs, diced
· 1 yellow onion, diced
· 2 cups dry red wine
· 3 cups lamb stock or beef stock
· 2 cups chicken stock
· 2 sprigs fresh thyme
· 1 sprig fresh rosemary
· 1 clove
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
2. Season the lamb shanks on both sides with salt and pepper.
3. In a large casserole or braising pan, heat the oil over high heat. When the oil is hot, sear the lamb shanks for 6 to 8 minutes on both sides, or until they are dark brown. Remove the lamb shanks and set aside.
4. Add the carrots, celery, and onion to the pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for about 8 minutes, or until tender. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits. Let the wine come to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.
5. Return the lamb shanks to the pan and add the stocks, thyme, rosemary, and clove. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 4 hours, until the meat is fork tender and nearly falling off the bone.
6. Remove the pan from the oven and let the lamb shanks cool to room temperature in the braising liquid.
7. Reheat the lamb shanks in the liquid over medium heat until heated through and taste for seasoning. Put 1 lamb shank in each of 4 shallow serving bowls and top with a generous cup of sauce and the vegetables. The lamb shanks can also be covered and refrigerated in their braising liquid for up to 4 days; remove the fat that has hardened on top of the lamb before reheating.
The Sommelier Recommends
Red wines from Valpolicella come in many styles and with many adjectives. We enjoy these wines from Ca' la Bionda and Buglioni with the lamb shank.