Last Friday I took a ride down to Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck). I needed to pick up Tilapia for Friday's dinner and since Matt sold the fish store I used to patron, I'm not as crazy about the quality of the goods. Anyway, while I was there, I thought I'd find something for us to have Saturday night. Of course, when I asked Chris for requests, I got the usual response, "I don't know." When I pressed him, I got a bit more information, "Something meaty." Lots of help, thanks.
So while in WF, I checked out the butcher shop (what I wouldn't give for a local butcher). Anyway, as I walked back and forth in front of the case, one of the butchers asked me, "Can I help you?" I replied, that I was just looking for inspiration and I'd let them know when I was ready. Then I spotted them, lamb shanks. I had never prepared lamb shanks but figured they couldn't be much different than veal shanks. I also had vague recollections of some sort of braised lamb shanks with Moroccan spices that I thought might be good (crossing my fingers that Chris would be able to fill in on whatever other ingredients I needed when he did our regular shopping on Saturday).
So tilapia, lamb shanks (and assorted other goodies in hand), I checked out and headed home.
Upon arrival, I logged on to Cooking Light and did a search on lamb shanks where I found this recipe. It wasn't the Moroccan preparation I had envisioned but it was easy, slow-cooking, and mighty tasty. Chris said it rivaled my rendition of Osso Bucco and I have to say it was so much easier to prepare. The lamb was tender and delicious when done, the polenta and roasted Brussel sprouts were great accompaniments. Not to mention, the Due Mile Sei wine from Castoro that we drank with it. Nice wine - good to taste it when I'm totally sober - it was smooth with flavors that reminded me of chocolate and raspberry - yum.
Anyway, I will definitely make this dish again and definitely wouldn't have qualms for serving it to company. Added bonus, the lamb shanks were so much cheaper than veal shanks. Oh, for you Weight Watchers, this came in at 9 points (not too bad for a Saturday night meal and that included the polenta).
The flavors in this recipe are reminiscent of the Italian dish osso buco (though we use lamb shanks instead of veal). If you can't find three-quarter-pound lamb shanks, try using one-pound cuts or the closest weight you can find. Ask your butcher for help.
6 (3/4-pound) lamb shanks, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt-added petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14-ounce) can less-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (I used vegetable broth - I like the flavor better with polenta).
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 300°.
To prepare lamb, sprinkle lamb evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat a large, wide Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add lamb, and cook for 12 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove lamb from pan.
Add onion, carrot, and celery to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add red wine; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates. Return lamb to pan; stir in tomatoes, beef broth, and 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary. Bring to a boil.
Cover Dutch oven; place in oven. Bake at 300° for 2 hours or until lamb is tender. Remove lamb from pan; set aside and keep warm. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper to pan; bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until sauce is reduced to about 3 1/2 cups (about 30 minutes), stirring frequently. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; cook 30 seconds or until sauce thickens, stirring constantly.
To prepare polenta, bring chicken broth, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually add cornmeal, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat to medium; cook 4 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese. Serve immediately with lamb and sauce.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 lamb shank, 2/3 cup polenta, and about 1/2 cup sauce)
CALORIES 447 (20% from fat); FAT 10.1g (sat 3.9g,mono 4.2g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 51.1g; CHOLESTEROL 151mg; CALCIUM 135mg; SODIUM 815mg; FIBER 4g; IRON 4.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 34.4g
Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2005