Saturday, February 14, 2009

Braised Lamb Shanks!

The Diva here to share another one of her famous recipe secrets! This hearty dish is perfect for Valentine's Day. What better way to say, "I love you" than with falling off the bones tender lamb shanks? After all, they say the fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach! What, you were expecting me to say something else? It's not that kind of blog!!

As a pre V-day celebration, while while Kuzak and the Adorable Monster snoozed on the floor, I made this dish using gorgeous New Zealand, all natural grass fed lamb shanks. It's a great, inexpensive satisfying option for a hearty meal. Two lamb shanks set me back only about $8. I served my shanks over DD's Braised Cassoulet, but they'd be delicious over mashed potatoes or simple white beans (a classic French combo). So, my lovely friends, bon appetite!

Kuzak and the Adorable Monster

Domestic Diva's Braised Lamb Shanks

2 lamb shanks, fat trimmed
2 tbsp grapeseed oil (or other cooking oil)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
a bunch of thyme, tied with kitchen twine
1 cup red wine
1 bay leaf'
3 cups water
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat braising pan to medium high heat. Add the grapeseed oil and allow to warm for a minute. Then, add the onion, carrot and celery, sauteing until lightly caramelized (about 10 minutes).

Meanwhile, trim the fat from the lamb shanks. Then, salt and pepper the meat.

Once the veggies are cooked, add the lamb shanks to the pan and sear them on all sides.

Next, add the red wine and allow to reduce by half (about 4 minutes). Then, add the bunch of thyme, the bay leaf and the water. Cover and place in the oven and bake for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bones.

Once lamb shanks are cooked, take them out of the oven. Remove the lamb shanks from the oven and return the pan to the stovetop. Turn the heat to medium high and allow the braising liquids to reduce for about 5 minutes, or until they form a a nice sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. To serve, place the lamb shanks on a plate and spoon the braising sauce over them. They can be served on top of mashed potatoes or white beans.

Special Edition Wine Notes: 2000 Chateau Quinault

We decided to pair a bottle of 2000 Chateau Quinault with our meal. The wine was bought at auction by Kuzak at a wonderful price. One upside of the economic downturn is that wine prices have come down substantially, and many people are liquidating their wine cellars. This is especially true of Bordeauxs, which had become increasingly overpriced over the last decade. This lovely French wine, made by a pair of newcomers, heralds from St. Emilion area of Bordeaux. A modern blend of 70% merlot, 20% cabernet franc, 5% malbec & 5% cabernet franc, the wine took at least 2 hours of decanting to begin to open up to its full potential, but once it opened up, it was clear that it had reached good maturity and was ready to drink. The wine boasted a lovely purple color and youthfulness despite its age. A lovely, soft wine with great depth of flavors, and hints of blackberry and licorice. Paired with the soft, deeply flavored lamb shanks, it complimented the meal beautifully.

Robert Parker rated this wine 94 points, a strong score.

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