Red Wine Braised Lamb Shanks

Chances are, unless you’re in San Francisco or some other wacky weather land, braising is absolutely out of the question for you. It’s heatwave city out there, from what I hear, and I am not jealous. I have moments where I miss the occasional balmy summer night, don’t get me wrong. But anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I do not do well in the heat. I think Hunter S. Thomson said it best, while in Vegas: “I’ve never been able to properly explain myself in this climate” Or at least Johhny Depp playing Hunter S. said that.

We’re still braising here in the fog, and I’m writing this wearing my cozy sweatshirt:

(which is not only cozy, but funny as well)

So feel free to ignore this one for now, I understand. Stick to grilling and hearty dinner salads if it’s 95 and humid where you are. But put this one in your files for that first cool night… It’s a good one.

Braised Lamb Shanks

4 lamb shanks, about 1 pound each
1 onion, large dice
6 carrots, chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Cups red wine
2 Cups beef stock, preferable homemade
1 Tablespoon bacon fat
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/8 t ground cloves
salt & pepper

  • Season your lamb shanks liberally with salt and pepper and allow to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 300 and turn on a burner to medium high heat.
  • On the stove top, in a large dutch oven or heavy oven safe dish, brown the lamb shanks (in batches, if need be) in the bacon fat until browned on all sides. This will take 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove the lamb and add the onions, carrots, and garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to brown.
  • Add the ground cloves, a pinch of salt and pepper, rosemary, bay leaves, wine, and beef stock.
  • Turn the heat to high and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Return the lamb to the pot, cover, and place in the oven.
  • Allow to braise for 2.5-3 hours. If the lamb is layered in the pan, not flat, you should carefully remove the pot and move them around half way through so they cook evenly.
  • Remove the lamb and vegetables from the pot and set aside, keep warm (you can turn off the oven and put them in there)
  • Place the dutch oven with the remaining sauce over high heat and reduce until there is about 2 cups remaining. This will take a while, maybe 20 minutes, but is well worth it.
  • Serve your tender and delicious lamb shanks with the carrots and sauce over mashed sweet potatoes or mashed cauliflower.
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