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Braised Lamb Shanks

January 9, 2012

On our recent trip to Chicago, one place I was really hoping for the chance to check out was Girl and The Goat, the esteemed restaurant from Stephanie Izard, the first and so far only female winner of Top Chef. I don’t indulge myself in many reality shows, but Top Chef is a must, and I loved Stephanie. She strives to know closely the farms that her restaurants work with, and to use as much local meat and produce as possible. Things that make this girl very happy.

Unfortunately, we were unable to get a reservation given our large group, so the restaurant review will have till wait till next time. But I was happy to settle for a recipe of Stephanie’s I happened to find just a few weeks later in an issue of friends chick mag. The recipe sat pinned up in our kitchen until this weekend, when we finally had the time at home to let it do its thing. Purely amazing. Fall of the bone meaty goodness. We served ours over creamy polenta, but it would also be delicious with a side of roasted veggies or sauteed greens, or as she suggests – romesco sauce and fresh naan.

BRAISED LAMB SHANKS with MOZZARELLA POLENTA

Servings: 4
lamb shank recipe by: Stephanie Izard

 4 lb bone-in lamb shank
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tsp fennel seed, toasted
2 tsp yellow mustard seed
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
5 cups dark chicken stock (veal or beef stock will work too)

3 cups water
1 cup dry polenta
Salt
2/3 cup mozzarella 

Season lamb all over with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook lamb until golden – 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Add onion, garlic, fennel seed, mustard seed and tomato paste to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pot with wine, and cook until liquid is mostly evaporated. Add vinegar Worcestershire, sherry, and stock, and bring to a simmer. Return lamb to the pot,  reduce heat, and cover. Simmer lamb until tender and falling off the bone, 3 to 4 hours.

When lamb is finished, bring water to a boil in a separate saucepan. Add pinch of salt. Stir in polenta and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally until polenta begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, mix in mozzarella and cover until ready to serve. (Note: these polenta ratios were according to my package of Bob’s Red Mill – if your package says different please follow as they suggest)

** I definitely recommend taking a couple cups of the braising liquid and reducing down to make a great sauce for the lamb.

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