BRAISED SPRING LAMB SHANK
Spring lamb is worth the wait. And though it is spring time and this is the season for lamb, we pair it with a fall root vegetable. Why? Because of a tradition that must have been handed down from days of the root cellar. While lamb is a spring meat crop, rutabagas a fall crop that has wintered over in the cellar. When spring comes it is time to clean out the cellar and make room for the new crops. That is our “guess” as to why rutabaga pairs so naturally with spring lamb.
4 each lamb shanks, bone in
- As needed sea salt, pepper
- 2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups onions, diced
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 bottle Tempranillo wine
- 4 1/2 ounce chicken stock
- 2 cups cerignola olives, pitted, chopped, optional
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 5 sprigs fresh rosemary, whole
- 10 sprigs fresh parsley
2 teaspoons thyme, dried
Dry lamb shanks and season with salt and pepper. Sear lamb on both sides in hot dutch oven in the hot oil as needed. Remove lamb when brown. Add onions carrots, celery until soft and brown. Cook a few minutes to blend flavors and add wine, stock and olives, if using. Scrape the fond, stuck on proteins, from bottom of pot. Add herbs. Add lamb back and simmer covered in 325ªF oven for approximately 2 1/2 hours until lamb is fork tender but still on the bone. Remove and cool first on counter for about 30 minutes before placing into refrigerator to completely cool. Do not cover while cooling. Add bag of ice to refrigerator to help maintain cool temperature during cooling period. Once cool enough to handle, remove lamb to cookie sheet and continue cooling to completion. Cool liquid and lamb until drops below 40ºF before wrapping.
When ready to use the liquid, remove the fat layer and discard. At service, place shanks back into clean dutch oven and cover with the liquid, which has had the solid fat removed. Bak in 375ºF oven about 30 minutes or until the lamb shanks reach 165ºF. If desired add minced fresh thyme and serve with gremolata (see recipe).