One of my lamb shank creations, Little Buddy loves the bones.

One of my lamb shank creations, Little Buddy loves the bones. I never do this dish the same every time.

I don’t go on R & R for a while, but have been drooling over what the first meal I am going to cook will be. I am waiting for my wife Lynn’s request, but I know what it is going to be for me and Little Buddy. Lately, lamb shanks had become one of my favorite foods and Little Buddy loves them because they have unbelievable bones for her. Funny thing about lamb shanks, when I first discovered them, they were cheap and almost a throw away cut of meat. Now, they are priced ridiculously high. I just hope the same hasn’t happened to skate wings.

Every time I make lamb shanks, I do it differently. Essentially, it goes something like this.

Little Buddy’s Lamb Shanks

For two people

2 nice sized lamb shanks
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic (more if you are not having roasted garlic risotto)
1 medium onion
2 peeled carrots
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Be pretty generous with the olive oil. Cover bottom of pan with olive oil and bring to high heat. Rub salt and pepper on the lamb shanks and brown on all sides in the hot pan (I use a cast iron frying pan). Browning lamb shanks can be a pain in the arse, but not if you use tongs and are patient. Getting them properly browned is super important. Remove shanks and set aside.

Chop the carrots. Dice the garlic cloves and onion and sauté in the olive oil (in same pan) until they are caramelized. Scrape pan very well to ensure you get all the goodies stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the wine, rosemary, thyme, carrots, bay leaf and tomato paste to the same pan. Reduce the liquid almost in half while stirring and scraping the entire time.

Add liquid to the smallest oven casserole or pan that will fit the shanks and hold a cover. Add the shanks, turn to coat, cover and throw in the oven. I turn them every 30 minutes or so. Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the shanks. Uncover for the last 30 minutes or so. Add some water if it looks like the liquid is reducing too much, but using a pan with a proper cover will usually not require this. You will know they are done when they fall off the bone and carrots are tender. 

I plan to serve mine with a roasted garlic risotto and braised asparagus done in the same pan after the liquid is poured off. Use the sauce on the risotto and serve with a nice Sangiovese wine.

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