Braised dishes are a work of genius. The oven does most of the work. The tender morsels that emerge satisfy even the hungriest of winter appetites whether you are coming off the slopes or slumping off the couch.
- Lamb shank
- Tomato puree
- Chicken stock
- Bay leaf
The amount of stock and tomato puree needed depends on the number of lamb shanks used. I would say for four lamb shanks in a medium sized pot 1 pint of the puree and 1 quart of the stock should do the trick. The liquid should nearly cover the meat.
When cooking lamb shank I have two pots on the stove at the ready. One is the main cooking vessel. The mirepoix, aromatics, and eventually the meat will all congregate there for the long, slow cook in the oven. The second is usually my cast iron pan. This one is for searing.
Season and oil the meat. Allow the pan to warm to a medium high temperature. Give the shanks plenty of time on all sides to get a nice mahogany color. This will add layers of flavor to the final dish. Move the shanks to the main pot as they finish their sear. Deglaze the cast iron pan with the red wine. Add this to the pot. Then add the tomato puree and stock.
Braise covered for 1-1.5 hours at 300˚F. Check for tenderness. Remove the lid for the final phase of cooking. The shanks are done when fork tender.
This is a flavorful cut of meat. There is a lot of bone and other wibbly bits that need to be removed before serving. This task is most efficient when the shanks are still warm from the oven.
Sautée the meat with garlic, shallot, and parsley. Deglaze the pan with the cooking liquid. Serve with winter veg, roasted potatoes, polenta. Big, bold reds will pair well here, for example Rioja, Chateauneuf de Pape, Margaret River Cabernet, or Washington Merlot.