Monday, 5 December 2011

Braised Lamb Shanks with Beans

Still in love with braising... it's just the thing for cold weather meals.

I braised 4 lamb shanks, since that's how many come with a lamb. If you are buying them as their own thing, you could put up to 6 on this amount of beans and vegetables. There were 3 of us to dinner, and the leftovers were turned into soup by removing the meat from the last shank and shredding it, and adding a bunch of broth. That was another 2 meals for the 2 of us. So plenty of beans and veg here, is what I'm saying. If you were going to braise 6 shanks, you will need a very large dish or - probably a better idea - divide it all amongst 2 baking dishes.

4 to 6 servings
1 hour prep time, not including cooking the beans
4 to 5 hours to braise

Braised Lamb Shanks
Cook the Beans:

1 1/2 cups dry pea (navy) beans
1/2 teaspoon salt

Rinse and pick over the beans and put them in a pot with water to cover. Bring them to a boil, then turn them off and leave them, covered, to soak overnight. The next morning, change the water (fresh cold water to cover them by about an inch) and add the salt. Simmer until tender, about 1 to 2 hours. This can be done a day ahead, if you like.

Braise the Lamb Shanks:
2 medium leeks
2 cups peeled, diced celeriac
2 medium carrots
1 cup peeled, diced rutabaga
2 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
the juice of 1 lemon
3 or 4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dry rosemary leaves, ground
1 to 2 cups lamb or beef broth, or water, or some portion of this in wine
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
4 to 6 lamb shanks

Put the cooked beans in a large, shallow baking tray with their cooking liquid.

Wash and trim the leeks, and cut them in half lengthwise, then into thin slices. Peel and dice the celeriac. Peel and dice the carrots. Peel and dice the rutabaga.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, and cook the vegetables until softened and browned in spots. Turn them frequently. While they cook, peel and mince the garlic. Add the garlic once the vegetables are ready, and cook for just a minute or two more, stirring frequently.

Put the vegetables into the baking dish with the beans. Add the tomato paste, lemon juice, bay leaves, ground rosemary, the broth and the salt and pepper. There should be enough liquid to come to the top of the vegetables, but no more. The amount of salt will depend very much on how salty your broth is.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Add the remaining oil to the skillet in which you cooked the vegetables, and heat over fairly high heat. Brown the lamb shanks on all sides. They need to be quite dry when they go into the pan to brown well.

When the lamb shanks are browned all over, nestle them into the bean and vegetable mixture. Cover the dish, with foil if it does not have its own cover, and bake for 4 to 5 hours, until the meat is very tender and coming off the bone.

Last year at this time I made Leek & Brussels Sprout Soup.

No comments: