Lamb Shanks Osso Buco

Lamb Shanks Osso BucoFall Foodie
The recent cooler weather has put me in the mood to do some actual cooking. There is something about the fog rolling in and the leaves floating to the ground that makes me want to pull my Dutch oven out and do some serious braising. This is how I found myself with a big pile of vegetables and some beautiful lamb shanks.

If you have never had lamb shanks you are missing out. These slow-cooked beauties will melt in your mouth when prepared correctly. And, they are relatively inexpensive. The one drawback is that they do take some time to cook. So, this would definitely be a weekend meal. However, if you have an Instant Pot, you could make this magic in a much shorter amount of time.

There are two recipes I generally use for making lamb shanks. The first one has a lighter Provençal flavor and is made with small white beans. The lamb shanks melt away from the bone and the beans soak up the flavor of the lamb and the vegetables they are cooked with. The second recipe is probably my favorite of the two and has more of a traditional Osso Buco flavor. It’s fantastic when served with a creamy risotto or a serving of nutty farro on the side or for the truly decadent, mashed potatoes…and it’s even better the next day!

If you’re feeling in the braising mood this weekend, give this a try.

Lamb Shanks Osso Buco
Yields 4 to 6 servings
Adapted from The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells

4-6 large lamb shanks, trimmed of fat and sawed into 2-inch thick slices
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ounce pancetta, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups seeded and diced canned tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
2-3 small strips of lemon peel
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
(We encourage you to use fresh, but if using dried herbs, halve the measurements.)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Season the shanks all over with salt and pepper.

Place a large skillet or a Dutch oven and heat the oil over high heat. Add the shanks and brown them on all sides, turning often (about 5 to 7 minutes). Remove the meat and set it aside.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Turn the heat down to medium, add the pancetta, onions, and carrot, cover, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are quite soft (about 10 minutes).

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the wine, tomatoes, and stock and bring to a boil. Put in the lemon peel, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and the shanks.

Cover the pot and put it in the center of the oven. Bake until the meat is quite tender (about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Turn it from time to time during cooking. Remove the shanks and cover them loosely to keep warm. Degrease the sauce* and discard the bay leaves and lemon peel.

Reduce the sauce by half over high heat. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.

*Most people degrease the sauce by skimming away the fat from the top with a spoon. A more efficient way to degrease the sauce is with a turkey baster. Pour the sauce in a measuring cup and allow to settle. Then squeeze out the air from the bulb of a baster, insert it below the grease line, and the juices will be sucked up into the baster. Squeeze the liquid directly into the pan.

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