Of recipes and conversations | The Daily Star
03:30 PM, August 16, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Of recipes and conversations

Of recipes and conversations

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed/Star Lifestyle archive
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed/Star Lifestyle archive

A new week starts tomorrow and we will all become busy once again. Relishing for these much-awaited weekends is very common, given the workload in the weekdays. Spending quality time with family, therefore, is of paramount importance.

Arrange a family dinner tonight. And good conversations often require good food. Lamb is, by all means, one of the most delicious foods we've ever eaten. Here's a recipe of lamb shank you can make tonight. Happy feasting!  

Braised lamb shanks
Lamb shanks are among the chewier pieces of meat and taste best if cooked in moist heat over long periods of time. Now you don't need a braising pan to braise. You can braise in any covered vessel. If you do not have a braising pan, use any thick heavy pot with a lid that will fit in the oven. Or just use a deep baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Remember to remove as much fat as possible in the beginning in order to keep the sauce from being oily.

2 lamb shanks 
1 large onion 
4 carrots 
8 cloves garlic 
3 cups beef stock
2 tbsp tomato paste 
1 tbsp Herbes de Provence or mixed herbs 
3 bay leaves 
Sea salt 
Black pepper

Prep the lamb shanks and other ingredients. The lamb shank has a bit of papery white covering which must be removed. But leave the silverskin, which is the shiny covering attached to the meat. This will cook away. Liberally salt and pepper the shanks.

Next, peel and chop the onion and carrots into thick chunks. Then smash the garlic, peel it, and put it in a bowl with the carrots and onions. Measure out broth and tomato paste, mix it together, and put it into another bowl.

Brown the lamb shanks in the braising pan. It will be best to use a braising pan or other cast iron pan or heavy frying pan for this recipe. Heat up the braising pan or roasting pan on medium-high heat with some vegetable oil in it. Add the shanks after a few minutes of preheating. Note that a thinner pan will not require preheating.

A nice, dark, evenly browned lamb shank is best. The darker, the better. Remove the shanks from the pan and set aside.

Put the vegetables, herbs, and garlic into the pan. Remove all but one tablespoon of the oil from the pan. Too much oil at this stage will result in an oily sauce. Fry the vegetables for a minute with the Herbes de Provence or mixed herbs and the bay leaves. Make sure to use a non-metal spatula, made of either wood or high-temp plastic.

Add the beef stock, and tomato paste to the vegetables. Add the liquid to the pan and scrape the bottom of the pan really well. Make sure to use either a wooden spatula or a plastic one when doing this. Scrape at it for a few minutes and get the browned meat bits stuck to the bottom mixed into the liquid. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Once the sauce is hot and nearly at a boil, turn off the heat and put the shanks back in the pan. Do not worry if the shanks aren't totally covered, as you will be flipping them a couple times. Cover tightly with foil.

Put the covered braising pan into the oven. Try to make sure the oven is really hot.

After 45 minutes, take the braising pan out of the oven and check on the meat. Use tongs to flip the shanks over. Put the lamb shanks back in the oven, and set the timer for another 45 minutes.

After 1½ hours of braising, the shanks should be pretty tender. At this stage you will want to reduce some of the liquid in the braising pan. Take the lid off the braising pan, and stick the lamb shanks in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes. This will help to cook off some of the water, making the sauce more concentrated and delicious. After 20 minutes, flip the shanks one last time, and put them back in the oven for another 20 minutes, uncovered.

Remove the lamb shanks from the oven and let them rest. Remove them from the liquid to a plate and let them rest there for 10 minutes. Drape a little aluminium foil over the shanks to keep them warm. Turn your attention to the sauce. Try to skim off any extra oil floating on top. Next, use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables to a serving plate or bowl. Taste the remaining liquid. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Reduce it if you want, but, do not throw it out! Serve it with the shanks.

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