Let’s face it: fried turkey is so yesterday! If you really want to impress your guests, or that special someone in your life, branch out from the norm and invite an unexpected protein to the table: lamb. Different from traditional main dishes, lamb is a rich cut of meat with an earthy bite that marries well with root vegetables and is considered, amongst the culinary elite, an aphrodisiac with the same effects as oysters.
Even one of our favorite food bloggers, Rashad Frazier of Pulled Together, is a huge fan of lamb. “Fall is for braising so I decided to apply the cold weather cooking technique to one of my favorite proteins: Lamb Shank. Served over a bed of sweet potato puree and green beans, it's the sort of dish that defines cold weather and holiday cooking. Enjoy!”
So ring in the last holiday of 2015 with minimum fuss and a new culinary attitude for 2016 with one of the chef’s favorite renditions of lamb complete with yummy sides. Enjoy!
4 lamb shanks
1 large brown onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 rosemary sprigs
1 cup of quality chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 lemon, zested
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Sweet potato mash and steamed green beans, to serve
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
Using a skillet, brown lamb pieces on each side over medium high heat until nicely colored, then remove lamb. Toss in onion and garlic to brown and absorb all pan juices/fond. Add in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Pour all ingredients from skillet into a deep oven tray with lamb shank. The meat should not be submerged. Cover lamb shanks with foil and cook for 3 hours or until the meat is tender and almost falling off the bone. Flip and baste shanks a every hour.
When the lamb shanks are ready, carefully remove from the liquid and place the liquid in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce to a sauce-like consistency. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
To serve, place spoonfuls of sweet potato mash on to 4 bowls. Place the beans slightly on top and then the lamb shanks and ladle the sauce over the top. Enjoy!
Tips for the preparing lamb:
Be sure to use quality ingredients. It makes a huge difference. Purchase lamb shanks from your local butcher.
Set the lamb shank out for 30 minutes to allow it to come to room temperature. This will ensure it cooks properly.
Work in batches to brown/sear the lamb shanks to make sure you get an even sear all around the meat.
Don't freak out. As the shanks cook, the meat will shrink toward the top of the shank. The bone will be even more exposed which I find perfect for plating aesthetic.