Braised Lamb Shanks

I made braised lamb shanks this winter after buying some beautiful lamb from a farmer at the Charlottesville City Market earlier in the fall.  It was my first time cooking lamb shanks, but I had ordered lamb shanks at restaurants before, so I knew how rich and delicious they could be.  I combined a few recipes I read and mainly just followed my gut (haha, get it? my gut was hungry!) to create this dish.  I started with a sort-of mirepoix with carrots and leeks, and then I added sunchokes (which are very much like potatoes) to make it more like a stew.  The liquid consisted of beef broth, chicken broth, and a good amount of red wine.

Before adding the shanks to the braising liquid, I broiled them in the oven with salt and a drizzle of olive oil to sear the outside and start developing that rich, caramelized exterior.  I cooked this whole dish in a giant La Creuset in a hot oven (about 400 degrees) for about 3 hours until the shanks became tender and began falling off the bone.  Before serving, I fished out the sunchokes and carrots and reserved them to serve underneath the lamb.  I took the shanks out of the braising liquid for a while as well and reduced the sauce to more of a gravy.  Before serving, I added the shanks back into the the liquid to warm them in the now-syrupy sauce.  It might have been the best sauce I’ve ever made or tasted.

Reducing ShanksThe shanks were so tasty that I think I ate two whole ones the very first night that I made this dish.  They became even better as leftovers after sitting in the gravy and then being reheated and reduced further.  It may seem strange, but it made a wonderful breakfast.

Whole1Here’s the dish with the wonderful sauce poured on top:

Whole2And here’s another picture of the shank in the process of being eaten.  It shows how fall-apart-tender the meat was:

Bowl Deboned

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