Thursday, December 30, 2010

Shank of Lamb

Sometime back I was given a couple of lamb shanks which went straight into the freezer. Three months later and the lamb shanks continued to pass frozen days nestled between the ice cubes and turkey noodle soup. Earlier today a visitor looked in the freezer and pulled the shanks out. “I’ll tell you how to cook these and you can have them for dinner tonight.”

Not a whole lot of resistance from me, if only because trying new things in the kitchen always turns out to be a useful process, especially for one who enjoys cooking on most occasions. The first step this time was determining what ingredients were not already in my kitchen stocks, and making a shopping list. Seasonings were no problems, but the sour cream and Lipton Onion Soup stocks were on the shy side.

Here’s what you will need to braise two lamb shanks:

2 lamb shanks weighing about 1¾ pounds

1 package of Lipton Onion Soup mix

1 small container sour cream (8 ounces)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove fresh garlic minced

½ teaspoon thyme

1 bay leaf

a pinch of celery seed

a sprinkle of cayenne

a healthy sprinkle of Zatarain’s Cajun Seasoning

salt & pepper as desired

1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

7-8 fresh mint leaves for garnish


And here’s how to put it together…

Choose a cooking pot or a skillet that has a lid. Heat the olive oil until hot then add the lamb shanks along with the seasoning. Hold off on the chopped chives; they will come later. Turn the lamb shanks, browning them on each side. Once they reach a nice even brown all over, add a cup or more of water along with the package of Lipton’s Onion Soup. Lower the heat to a point just under medium, put the lid on the pot and allow the lamb to cook for about an hour and twenty minutes. Check occasionally to see that the liquid does not boil away. Add more water when necessary. After the meat has cooked for an hour, test the shanks for tenderness. At best it should be tender but not falling off the bone. When you are satisfied that the meat is done, add most of the 8 ounce container of sour cream, along with the chives and stir it until mixed well with the liquid in the pot. Put the lid on again and lower the heat—you do not want the liquid to boil at this point. Allow it to heat for another five minutes or so. Serve the lamb shanks with rice and your favorite vegetable, maybe a green salad. A cabernet sauvignon goes well.

I feel compelled to admit that I am not a great fan of lamb, and more often than not my choice would be otherwise. But with encouragement from another, and trusted advice on the preparation my reservations fell away and I jumped into the cooking. It may not be so with others, but the onion soup and sour cream in this recipe had a nice ring and sounded like a recipe I might like despite any ambivalence toward lamb. I wasn’t disappointed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America