Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shank you very much

A while back I bought 2 lamb shanks at the farmers market.  Not knowing what to do with them, I did what any self-respecting person would do: put them into the freezer.  Out of sight, out of mind, you know.

Last weekend I peeked into the freezer and saw the forlorn packages of lamb, so I pulled them out to defrost them.  Then I started to research how to cook these things.

As I learned, lamb shanks are full of connective tissue.  See all those white bits?  And how do we treat meat with a lot of connective tissue?  All together now: we braise it.

I found this recipe and decided that it looks a lot like how I normally make beef pot roast.  Start by browning the shanks.  I only had 2 though the recipe calls for 6.

Fugly carrots from our yard, garlic hoarded from the summer markets, chicken stock from the pantry, bacon that I made, and rosemary from the spice rack.  Hey... my rosemary plant is outside.  Today's high was 20-colder-than-a-witch's-(ankle) degrees.  To heck with that "I'm going to run outside and grab some fresh rosemary" crap.  I'll use the old stuff.

After sauteeing the aromatics, I added several glugs of wine, a pint of chicken stock, and a handful of dried tomatoes.  Salt & pepper to taste, put the shanks back in, plunk on the lid, and throw it into the oven.

As an aside, I sure miss being able to photograph stuff in my kitchen in the daylight.  Look how much better the natural light pics are than the flash ones.  Ugh.

There's been quite the winter storm that's hit the Pacific Northwest, leaving Hubbie and me home for the day. A girlfriend called and invited us to go see the new Harry Potter with her, so I banged this together in about 20 minutes, threw it into a 300-degree oven, and left for 3 hours.

During the movie this...

Became this...

I'm really hoping G-man will clean that pot.

The wine, stock, and connective tissues reduced to a rich, salty sauce that went perfectly with polenta.  I wish everything I braised reduced this well - it was gorgeous and perfect.

I served it with Alton Brown's polenta, garlicy fava beans, and some of my fav red wine.  In the effort to try new veggies, the fava beans were another first for me.  More on them later this week.

By the way, if you like mushrooms this recipe would be great with them.  I don't like them but imagine that someone who did would think they'd died & gone to heaven were there mushrooms therein.

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