Braised Lamb Shanks

Braised Lamb Shanks takes a few hours to prepare but they are well worth the wait. The combination of long braising time and the acidity of the braising liquid break down the connective tissue in this otherwise tough cut of meat yielding a super tender finished product. The Gremolata lends an herby, citrusy finish when used as a serving garnish.

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Braised Lamb Shanks

Serves 4 to 6

8 lamb shanks 10-12 ounces each
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 strips lemon zest, each about 4 inches long
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

For Gremolata
2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
Zest of 2 lemons
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375F.

Pat the lamb shanks dry. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge each in flour.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Working in batches, brown the shanks on all sides. Transfer them to a plate and reserve.

In the same Dutch oven, add the onion, carrot and celery. Season with salt to help draw out moisture. Saute until the onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic cloves, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cook for 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. Return the lamb shanks to the Dutch oven. Add enough chicken stock to cover the lamb shanks to about two-thirds. Add the herb sprigs, bay leaves, and lemon zest strips. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover tightly and move to oven. Braise for about 2 hours, turning the shanks every 30 minutes, until the meat is fork tender.

While the lamb shanks are braising, prepare the the gremolata by mixing the herbs, lemon zest and a few grinds of black pepper. Set aside.

When the lamb shanks are done, remove them from the braising liquid to a platter. Place a sieve over a large bowl. Carefully pour the braising liquid into the sieve, pressing on the solids to release as much liquid as possible. Discard the solid and return the sauce to the pan. Place the lamb shanks back into the sauce and bring to a simmer. Re-season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place a lamb shank on each plate and spoon some sauce over each. Top with a spoonful of gremolata. Serve alongside risotto or on top of creamy polenta.

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