Braised Lamb Shanks
OK...so yes, this is way fancier than your average game day food. I will give you that. I just got such a craving for lamb shanks one night and had to make them so I came up with this recipe on the first try. (Sometimes recipe testing necessitates making a dish more than once to get it right). In this case, this dish came out mouth-wateringly delicious on the first go (mic drop!) and I'm sticking with it!
4 lamb shanks (or pork shanks if you prefer)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
5 medium carrots, cut into ¼ inch rounds
5 medium celery stalks, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 bottle dry red wine
3 tbsp tomato paste
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ cup water
4 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp black or pink peppercorns
Game Day Tip: Make this recipe the day before, pull the lamb and serve it on a ciabatta bun or bread of your choice with some cucumber yogurt for a more tailgating/homegating-friendly dish!
Preheat oven to 300° – 325° F. (The temperature will determine how long you braise your meat for).
Season meat with salt and pepper on all sides.
In a large, enameled casserole dish or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the meat on all sides (about 4-5 minutes per side).
Add in garlic, shallots, carrots, celery, wine, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and water. Stir well until tomato paste is incorporated. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
Lower heat to a simmer and add in the bay leaves and peppercorns. Cover and put into oven for about 3 hours (if oven is at 300°), turning meat once.*
Once the meat is done cooking in the oven, remove and place over a low simmer, remove the remaining liquid and reduce in a skillet over low heat for about 20 minutes. (The simmer will keep the meat hot).
*If you prefer a shorter cooking period, cook for 90 minutes at 325°.