Lamb Shanks Braised with Tomato
In all my years of cooking, I had never prepared lamb shanks. That’s kind of surprising to me because I do love lamb. I have now added lamb shanks to my repertoire; yesterday I made Cooking Light’s version of Lamb Shanks Braised with Tomato and it was fantastic!
I researched many recipes before deciding on this one. I liked its simplicity. I felt confident that a slow braise would marry the flavors together beautifully, and I was right! Although the ingredients are very simple, the sauce was incredibly flavorful after the long braise. Smashed Yukon gold potatoes made a great accompaniment, but polenta or pasta would be equally good.
Most recipes call for four 12-ounce lamb shanks. The ones I got at QFC were huge! They were 1½ pounds each, so I bought two for 4 servings. Smaller ones may have made a nicer presentation, but the large ones worked just fine.
The recipe called for 2 (14-ounce) cans of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano. I’m not a big fan of seasoned canned tomatoes, so I substituted a large (28-ounce) can of Italian plum tomatoes. I cut them up and added my own garlic, salt (they were unsalted), basil, and oregano.
You could easily cut the recipe for Lamb Shanks Braised with Tomato in half if you just want 2 servings, but this is one of those recipes that tastes even better heated up later. You might as well cook the whole thing and savor the leftovers!
Lamb Shanks Braised with Tomato
(Adapted from a December 2009 recipe from Cooking Light)
4 (12-ounce) (or two 1½ pound) lamb shanks
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup dry red wine
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano*
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
*Or substitute for the seasoned tomatoes:
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes and their juice (cut into small pieces)
½ teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt, if the canned tomatoes are unsalted
These two lamb shanks are 1½ pounds each! That is huge, but to be fair I have to point out that this is a small baking sheet.
1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add a small amount of olive oil, just to cover the bottom of the pan.
2. Season the lamb with the ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.
3. Put the lamb in the hot pot and brown on the first side for about 4 minutes.
4. Turn the lamb over and brown the second side for about 4 minutes.
5. Remove the lamb from the pan and add the minced garlic. Stir and sauté for about 15 seconds.
6. Add the wine, stirring to bring up any browned bits. Cook for about 2 minutes.
7. Stir in the tomatoes (along with the seasonings if you are using unseasoned tomatoes) and cook for about 2 minutes.
8. Return the lamb to the pan. Spoon some of the sauce over it. Cover and reduce the heat so it is simmering. (I had to turn the burner down to the lowest setting and it was still simmering pretty vigorously.) Simmer for 1 hour.
9. Turn the lamb over and spoon some sauce over it. Simmer for 1 – 1½ hours more until the meat is very tender.
10. Remove the meat to a plate and cover with foil.
11. Skim some of the fat off of the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes, until it is reduced a bit and thickened.
12. Return the lamb to the sauce and cook for 3 or 4 minutes until it is heated.
13. Stir in the parsley and serve.