Braised Massey Creek Farm Lamb Shanks

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I keep dreaming about these Braised Lamb Shanks we made for Thanksgiving this year. They were so incredibly good – fall off the bone amazing. Inspired by the October Bon Appetit magazine, my mother and I decided that lamb was the perfect alternative to turkey this year. I went straight to my friend Garland at Massey Creek Farm to get some local lamb shanks that would make the dish perfect. We changed the recipe a bit – making sure to brown the lamb shanks before braising and skipping the gremolata to let the local lamb shine. This is a fairly simple recipe and I highly recommend making the dish the day before. We loved it so much that we had it two nights in a row – and the second night it was even better!

We served the lamb over polenta with lots of butter and locatelli cheese. This dish is perfect for a holiday dinner party. Pick up some lamb at the Farmers Market and get started!

This is making me so hungry – I must stop typing. 

Braised Massey Creek Farm Lamb Shanks, from Bon Appetit 

  • 6 pounds lamb shanks (6–8 shanks, depending on size), trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt plus more
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground fennel seeds
  • 7 garlic cloves, 1 grated, 6 minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups drained canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth

Place lamb on a large rimmed baking sheet; season all over with 2 tablespoons salt and generously with pepper. Mix rosemary, fennel seeds, and grated garlic in a small bowl; massage into lamb. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°. In a dutch oven, brown the lamb shanks in a splash of olive oil.  Do this in batches – not to crowd the pan. Set the lamb aside and add onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8–10 minutes. Add minced garlic, flour, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Stir vigorously to distribute flour. Cook, stirring often, until mixture becomes dry, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and wine. Simmer briskly, stirring often, until juices thicken and tomatoes begin to break down, about 10 minutes.

Gradually stir in 4 cups broth. Simmer until flavors meld, 3–4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I found the recipe needed a little more salt). Add lamb shanks to pot in a single layer, pushing them down into sauce (add additional broth if needed so that shanks are about 3/4 submerged).

Roast, uncovered, until tops of shanks have browned, about 30 minutes. Using tongs, turn shanks over and roast 30 minutes longer. Cover and cook, turning shanks occasionally, until meat is fork-tender and almost falling off the bone, 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours (time will depend on size of shanks). Remove from oven and skim off fat from surface of sauce. Let shanks rest in liquid for at least 30 minutes.

 

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