Cold weather cooking in Maine involves a lot more animal proteins then any other time of the year for us. One of my favorite techniques is braising, which produces a tender, "fall of the bone" end product. A dish like this can be slowly simmered on top of our wood stove, or on a low setting in our oven. One of our favorite farms, Swallowtail Farm and Creamery, produces 100% grass fed lamb and I was lucky enough to pick up a few shanks from a work trade. The succulent meat pairs well with fresh herbs like rosemary and sage, mashed root veg or potatoes, and a big glass of Cabernet Savingnon. Braised Lamb Shanks
- 2 Lamb Shanks
- 2 tsp Fennel Seed, ground
- 2 Carrots, large dice
- 3 Celery sticks, large dice
- 1 large Onion, large dice
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 8 ounces Red Wine
- 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 2 inch Cinnamon Stick
- 1 quart Chicken Stock or Water
- Sea Salt
- Fresh Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp fresh chopped Rosemary
- Season the lamb shanks with the fennel seed and a liberal amount of sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Heat a 6 qt Dutch Oven over high heat. Add a few Tablespoons of olive oil and once hot add the shanks. Brown well on all sides then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add a few more Tablespoons of oil then add your carrots, celery, and onion. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes.
- Pour in the wine, scrap the bottom of the pan and allow to reduce by half.
- Add in the shanks, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick, then pour in the chicken stock.
- Allow the liquid to come to a boil, then cover and place in a 325F oven.
- Cook for 2.5 hours. At this point, the shanks should be nice and tender and ready to eat.
To Create the sauce, strain out the liquid into a pot and bring to a boil. Allow the flavorful stock to reduce until it coats the back of a spoon.
Serve the shanks over polenta, mashed potatoes, or roasted root vegetables and the fresh rosemary. Enjoy!