Our Easter celebration was a little different this year. We usually always spend it with family, but this year it was just my husband and myself, along with little Zoe (our little Yorkie pup). I spent the day cleaning out cupboards in anticipation of our return to Umbria in a few weeks, and then my husband and I shared our dinner preparation. I love lamb for Easter though since some our family members do not care for lamb we rarely prepare it on holidays. I looked at lamb roasts, but with just the two of us eating it, we’d have leftovers for days! We do grill lamb chops from time to time, so that didn’t seem special enough for a holiday meal, so we settled on lamb shanks. My husband loves any braised meats, and it appears that just about any meat can become fall off the bone tender when slow cooked in of sauce.
Usually, I’d serve braised lamb shanks on a bed of soft polenta, risotto, or even mashed potatoes, but I am trying to reduce grains in my diet this month. Instead, I decided I’d serve our lamb with some roasted fingerling potatoes, braised fresh artichokes, and cauliflower gratin. The lamb is cooked for three hours in the sauce, creating a tender shank that just about melted in your mouth. My husband had bought such large pieces of meat that we had lots of leftovers, so I pulled the meat off the bone, shredding it with my fingers, then mixed it in the sauce. I served the sauce on top of whole grain pasta the next day, and it was just as, if not more, tasty! I always serve braised meats topped with a little gremolata, a chopped herbal accompaniment that adds a brightness to hearty meats cooked in this manner such as Osso Buco Milanese. Gremolata is usually a mixture of fresh parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, all chopped together finely, then sprinkled on top of the dish just before serving.
Deborah Mele 2016
- 4 Lamb Shanks
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, Chopped
- 3 Carrots, Chopped
- 3 Celery Stalks, Chopped
- 5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 3 Cups Dry Red Wine
- 1 (28 Ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes
- 1 (4 Ounce) Can Tomato Paste
- 2 (14 Ounce) Cans Beef Broth
- 5 Teaspoons Fresh Chopped Rosemary
- 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
- 1 Large Garlic Clove, Peeled
- Zest From 1 Lemon
- Heat the oil in a large cast iron dutch oven over medium heat.
- Salt and pepper the shanks, then brown them on all sides, about 8 minutes.
- Remove the shanks to a plate.
- Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot, and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
- Pour in the wine, tomatoes, paste, broth, rosemary, and oregano, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the shanks to the pot, and cover with a lid.
- Cook over low heat until tender, about 2 1/2 hours, removing the lid during the last hour.
- Remove the shanks to a plate, cover with foil, and bring the sauce to a rapid boil.
- Cook the sauce until thickened.
- While the sauce is thickening, chop the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest until finely chopped for the topping.
- Return the shanks to the pot to rewarm.
- Serve the shanks with sauce spooned on top, and then top with a spoonful of gremolata.