Several years ago, I stumbled onto a recipe for lamb shanks which was created by chef Tom Valenti. It has about 20 ingredients in it (including anchovies!) and is quite yummy. Then, a year or so ago, I came across a variation of Tom's recipe with fewer
ingredients and, to my taste, just as delicious. To hubby's taste, it's even better than Tom's ("less rich", says he). And thus, I've been asked to make this dish fairly often.
Yesterday, one of our snowbird neighbors asked if I'd make lamb shanks for him too, because he "just loves 'em". And thus I found myself throwing a small dinner party last night: lamb shanks, steamed green beans, and mashed cannellini beans (with some
of the braising liquid added to it). Although I've been off red meat since last July, and avoiding most fats, I admit I joined the festivities. Well, I had to: it just smelled too good.
I've posted the lamb shank recipe here before, but here it is again:
Lamb Shanks for Four:
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 lamb shanks
salt and pepper (sprinkled on the lamb)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. dry red wine
3/4 c. dry white wine
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 c. water
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
2 tbsp. fresh rosemary (1 tbsp. dried)
2-3 twigs fresh thyme (1 tsp. dried)
In a large cooking pan (one that has a cover), warm up the olive oil over medium heat (don't let the oil get smokey though).
Then add the lamb shanks and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cook on each side (adding salt and pepper as you go) until the lamb is lightly browned (about 10 minutes).
Remove from the heat and set aside.
Toss the diced onions in the oil, along with the garlic, and stir for about 3 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.
Then place the lamb shanks back into the pan and cover.
Let simmer, covered, turning each shank every half hour until the meat begins fall off the bone (about 2-1/2 to 3 hours).
2 cans Cannellini Beans, partially drained (add about 1/4 c. liquid to the pot).
2-3 tbsp. of the braising liquid from the lamb.
Add the beans to a pot and heat until hot, then mash them (I use an immersion blender).
Just before serving, stir in some of the braising liquid and mix well.
Steamed Green Beans
2 c. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 tbsp. butter
Steam the green beans until just tender (about 15 minutes). Remove the water and steamer from the pot, and toss the beans in butter.
When serving, mix a small dollop of the mashed white beans in with the green beans.
This is one of those meals that will earn you many kudos. There's enough braising liquid left for a whole other meal, but this time I'll let hubby have my share. It was fun to revisit this tasty menu though.