Okay so I have really been slacking on this blog thing and really need to step it up. That being said I decided to finally write a post about my third love. Other than my daughter and amazing husband it is FOOD! Living in the small ranching community we have we are blessed to be able to purchase free range animals at a very decent cost. So, my very first recipe is going to pay homage to one of the most accessible and delicious animals that I have actually purchased from local ranchers. Ze Lamb…. MMmmmmm…… Now hear me out before you get all sentimental like, “Oh lord she eats baby lambs (cue the image of the adorable little puppet Lamb Chop)…. sniffle sniffle.” Because yes…. I adore baby lambs and all their bouncy adorable glory, but these are not the lambs that we are eating or talking about. (I guess I should clarify at this point that I am not talking about eating stuffed animals either! LOL) These are mature lambs, but not adult sheep, or mutton, as that would be called. And these not so little lambs are delish! Try it yourself and I am positive you will agree! I am also posting this recipe about one of the most under utilized part of any animal. The shank, which is basically the lower part of an animals leg, front or back. Most people don’t utilize the shank because of the tendons and its toughness. We are about to change that!
Just a small note: I am HORRIBLE at remembering exactly the correct amounts of ingredients, so just do everything to taste. The basics are there! On that note, here is my recipe for “Red Wine Braised Lamb Shanks!” –
Ingredients- 2 to 4 lamb shanks, 2 onions chopped, 3 carrots cut however, as much garlic as you like (I think I put like 10 cloves because I am a garlic freak), 1- 28 oz. can of tomatoes with juice (I did the diced fire grilled with garlic but you could add whole), 1 can of chicken broth, 1 can of beef broth, a small handful of fresh chopped rosemary if you have it (I only had dried so I crushed it in my mortar and pestle and had probably 2-3 tablespoons, and some fresh thyme leaves (I love thyme so I added quite a bit but 2-3 tablespoons of fresh leaves should do. If you are doing dry I would start small, probably one tablespoon. You can always add more if wanted later.)
Step 1- Get your lamb shanks, anywhere from 2 to 4 will work for this recipe depending on size. Season shanks with salt and pepper and brown all sides on the stove top in some olive oil. The idea here is to not actually cook the shanks, but kind of seal them in a crusty coating holding in all the yummy juices. Below is a picture of a front and rear shank in their raw form and then being browned in the pot.
Step 2- Add the chopped carrots, onion and garlic to the pot and sauté them for a bit to get a little cooked. Maybe like 5-10 minutes. A note on the garlic, you can either mince or just peel and toss whole cloves in if you want to remove the cloves later. Here is where it gets tricky, to add or not to add the WHOLE bottle of wine! I opted to drink a small glass or two, you know, to taste test, and then added the rest. Yeah…. I did it…. but I mean small. Okay, one large glass. Whose looking?! Add in the tomatoes, chicken broth, beef broth, thyme and rosemary. Now add your shanks and make sure they are “mostly” covered in the liquid. I say mostly because mine weren’t totally covered…… Not sure why… WINK WINK! Bring this all to a boil and then put the lid on, reduce the heat to simmering (medium to medium low depending upon your stove top) for about 2 hours. No less than 2, but you could go for another half hour or so if you wanted.
Step 3- Sit back and enjoy another “small” glass of wine. Or a beer. Whichever you prefer!
Step 4- Lift the lid and bask in what is soon to be your amazing dinner. But alas, not yet. You want to remove the lid and continue to simmer for about another half an hour or so. Give or take ten minutes on either end. This reduces the liquid a little bit to a more concentrated delicious kind of sauce.
Step 5- You are now officially, basically, done. If the sauce is to your liking as far as consistency, then whip yourself up a nice batch of polenta and enjoy immediately. You could also place on some yummy mashed taters. For something like this though I prefer polenta. If you would like the sauce thicker you could always place the shanks in a warm (not cooking or baking warm, just warm) oven on a cookie sheet, either reduce the sauce on high a little more (making sure to keep a close eye and stir) or add some corn starch mixed in a little bit of cold water and then add to the boiling sauce to thicken. Place on your polenta or potatoes, add a little parmesan or Romano cheese, and super enjoy!!!
Also…. You don’t necessarily have to do this with lamb at all. Or shanks for that matter. One could do this with any type of “tougher” meat, or even just a roast. I personally am going to save the shanks off of any animal that God allows me to harvest this year, be it deer or elk, and try the same recipe to see if it’s delicious…. You know what though…. I bet it is!
So there it is. My first recipe and I finally figured out how to upload photos. Only took about two hours between a teething baby and a not so technological momma! Please try out the recipe and let me know what you think. Much more to come…. I promise! 🙂