Perhaps it’s just my roots, but the thought of having tender, flavorsome lamb shanks instead of traditional turkey for Thanksgiving is rather appealing!
In my post on leg of lamb, I discussed the quality of lamb we get here in the US. A cut that is often overlooked is the shank, which can either be from the front or back leg of the lamb. This is the part below the traditional leg of lamb – which is larger than the shank from the front legs. It is a longish, thin marrowbone with the leg muscles. This meat is very flavorsome when cooked slowly, in the presence of moisture.
Lamb shanks in red wine is another easy oven recipe.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 lamb shanks
- flour for dredging
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- ½-¾ cup red wine
- 1½ cups hot water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Put the oil into a heavy-based wrought-iron pot or Dutch oven.
- Dredge the shanks with flour and arrange them in the pot with the onion and rosemary.
- Cover with a lid and bake in the oven at 350˚F for about an hour, then lower the temperature to 300˚F. At this stage the shanks should be browning nicely, with a little self-formed liquid in the base of the pot.
- After about 1½ hours of baking, remove the pot from the oven and put the shanks onto a plate - also remove the stalky bits of the rosemary.
- Add 1½ cups of hot water together with ½ cup of wine to the pot and stir well to loosen the brown bits on the base and sides of the pot, to form a uniform sauce.
- Return the shanks to the pot and bake for another 40-60 minutes.
- By now the shanks should be very tender. Place them on a heated platter and keep them warm.
- Place the pot on the stove, add a little more wine and/or water to the existing sauce if necessary, and bring to the boil, while stirring. Thicken with a little cornstarch mixed with cold water. Adjust the flavoring by adding salt, pepper (and wine) to taste.