Braising. It’s one of my favorite ways of preparing meats. Braising uses moist heat and time and takes tougher, less expensive cuts that have huge flavor, and break them down into tender delicious dishes.
Im going to over two recipes today. Moroccan Lamb Shanks With White Bean Ragu which contains a variety of spices and seasonings and Beef Shanks In Red Wine that has less ingredients, but a full rich flavor.
The 1st recipe is not real picture intensive because I was too busy cooking.
Moroccan Lamb Shanks with White Bean Ragu, Chick Pea Mash, and Roasted Cauliflower
4 Lamb shanks
1 T Cumin
1 t Turmeric
2 t Coriander
1/2 t Cayenne Pepper
1/2 t Paprika
1 t Fennel Seed
2 t Kosher Salt
1/2 t Black Pepper
2 t Mint
1 T Chopped Ginger
4 T Olive Oil
1 qt Canned Tomatoes
1 qt Stock
2 C White Wine
1/4 Preserved Lemon
1 Pint White Beans
Handful Of Spinach
2 can garbanzo beans/chick peas
1/4 C chopped Cilantro
1 C stock (chicken or veg)
1 head cauliflower
2 T olive oil
1 t Salt
2 t Pepper
Oven at 425.
Heat half the oil on a skillet. Sear the lamb shanks on all sides until brown. In a dutch oven heat the other half of the oil and brown the onion. As the onion is cooking add the cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne pepper, paprika, and fennel seed. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan.
Once the shanks are seared add them to the dutch oven. Add salt and pepper. Stir in the canned tomatoes, stock, beans, ginger, and mint.
Take the preserved lemons and cut the flesh out. Filet the pith off of the zest. Rinse the zest well under cold water. Slice the zest crosswise into the thinest strips you can muster. Add the strips to the pot. Bring the contents to a boil.
Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven for approximately 2-3 hours. Add the handful of spinach 20 minutes before serving and stir it in the pot. The meat on the shank should be very tender and fall easily off the bone.
Core the cauliflower. Break off the florets from the base. Cut larger florets in to smaller pieces by cutting up the stems and separating by hand. Place the cauliflower in a pan or cookie sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then toss to coat. Roast the cauliflower for 25-30 minutes.
Combine the chick peas and stock in a pot. Heat. Roughly mash the peas with a fork or potato masher. Heat through. Add the cilantro and stir to combine.
Serve the cauliflower and chick pea mash next to the shank. Top the shank with the bean and spinach ragu.
These shanks are so flavorful as you taste the lamb with bursts of coriander and lemon, heat from the cumin and paprika, and the depth of the turmeric and ginger. It seems like a lot. But the white beans and chick peas help mellow it out.
Hope you enjoy.
For a dish with less spice, but just as much depth, try my 2nd dish.
Beef Shanks In Red Wine On Polenta
4 Beef shanks
2 Stalks celery
1 Large carrot
1 Bottle of red wine (merlot or cabernet)
4 Garlic cloves
1 Bunch fresh thyme
4 T Olive oil
2 t Salt
1 qt Beef stock
1 C Corn meal
4 C+ Vegetable Stock
3 T butter
Oven at 400.
Heat the vegetable stock to a boil. Slowly pour in the corn meal while stirring vigorously. Reduce to a simmer. This is where polenta gets tricky. You want it to be thick, but not lumpy. If it get’s too thin, cook it longer. If it gets lumpy, slowly add mor stock. Continue to cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
These were so tender that as I tried to remove them from the pan the bones slipped from the meat. I pocked the marrow back into the bone and tossed the bones aside.
Spoon the polenta on a plate. Place a shank on top and the add the cooked vegetables.