BRAISED LAMB SHANKS inspired by and adapted from Darryl’s Corner Bar in Boston
Easy to prepare with a strong molasses flavor yet superbly sophisticated and unforgettably delicious, while the braising of the lamb shanks mellows out the complex flavors and will win you many praises at the dinner table!
4-6 large lamb shanks or shoulder
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 shallots, THINLY sliced
2 large carrots, FINELY diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup dry red wine
1 cup HOMEMADE or QUALITY beef broth
2 cups HOMEMADE or QUALITY chicken broth plus more as needed to keep lamb shanks immersed
1 LARGE sprig FRESH rosemary
6 sprigs FRESH thyme
3 FRESH bay leaves
1 tablespoon ground Porcini mushrooms** (OPTIONAL)
8 ounce can plain tomato sauce
1/3 cup QUALITY balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup molasses
2 tablespoons QUALITY tomato paste
1 packed heaping tablespoon brown sugar
FRESH ground sea salt and trim-color pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
zest of one LARGE orange, plus juice
1/4 cup chopped FRESH parsley
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
- Tie the rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs and bay leaves together with some twine OR place in a cheesecloth bag. The cheesecloth bag is my favorite way to make it easy to fish out at the end.
- Preheat the oven to 325°.
- Season lamb shanks with FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper.
- Heat the oil in a cast iron Dutch oven or heavy oven-proof pot. I like to use my enameled cast iron crock pot
- Generously brown the lamb shanks on all sides and transfer to a plate.
- Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the oil.
- Saute the onions, shallots, carrots, celery and garlic until softened, 6-8 minutes.
- Stir in the ground Porcini mushrooms if using.
- Add the red wine and orange juice, bring to a boil, and de-glaze pan, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Boil for 2 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients except for the butter and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil.
- Return meat to pan.
- Cover with the lid and place the hot pot on the lowest rack in the preheated oven.
- Bake for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until the meat is very tender, turning the lamb shanks over halfway through.
- Remove the cover during the last 30 minutes of cooking until the lamb shanks are nicely browned on top.
- Remove the herbs and bay leaves.
- Skim from surface of cooking liquid.
- Bring braising liquid to a simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
- Return lamb to pan; cook for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the lamb shanks to a plate tented with foil and place in the warm oven with the oven door open.
- Place the pot on the stove top. If needed use a slotted spoon to remove any herb sprigs/leaves.
- Bring the sauce to a boil and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Simmer until thickened.
- Season to taste.
- Serve over mashed potatoes with some gravy spooned over top.
- **STRONGLY recommended for the BEST flavor (use a spice/coffee grinder, blender, or pound to grind them in a ziplock bag)
- Alternatively, to speed up the thickening time, you can dissolve 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch in 1/4 cup of water and then stir the slurry into the gravy. Bring it to a simmer and stir for a couple of minutes until thickened.
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