Slow Roasted Lamb Shanks
Getting your lamb fall-off-the-bone tender.
Braised, grilled, or pan-seared, encrusted or lightly seasoned, accompanied by a mint sauce, yogurt sauce, or orange glaze, the possibilities for lamb are immeasurable. Although lamb does not appear as popular as some other meats here in the United States, it remains a very tender meat that is a good source of zinc, iron and Vitamin B12. It is also low in fat and moderate when it comes to calories, as a 3 ounce serving of cooked lean lamb can range from 155 - 200 calories, depending on which of the five different cuts is being consumed.
What is it about lamb that leads people to look the other way? Is it the cost? The unfamiliarity? The gamey flavor if not prepared well? If done well, lamb is a just so great and comforting. For those who want to try it, but aren’t sure where to start, begin by choosing lamb that is firm and pink in color. If there is marbling throughout in the meat, make sure it is white in color, not yellow. Then, take care of the meat because it is quite perishable. Lamb can be refrigerated for three to five days, two days if ground. Or, freeze the lamb in aluminum foil or freezer paper.
One of the best ways to enjoy lamb is when it is fall-off-the-bone tender. How do you get that tenderness? Slow cooking, which cooks the meat at a low temperature, allows the meat’s internal temperature to gradually rise to meet up with the rest of the cut, and cook evenly. Luckily, lamb and beef do especially well when prepared this way. The recipe below works with slow cooking because lamb shanks can be tough. But, it’s not the only option. There are so many ways to prepare lamb, with infinite flavor combinations, that can win over a diner. Then, paired with the perfect wine, the diner will be putty in your hands.
Slow Roasted Lamb Shanks
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 lamb shanks
1 large red onion, sliced
1 bulb garlic, peeled (about 8-10 cloves)
1 pint grape/cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
¾ cup white wine
¼ cup water
1 bay leaf
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Season lamb with salt and pepper. In an deep oven-proof fry pan/skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add lamb, in batches, and cook to brown both sides. Remove and reserve on a plate.
Using the same pan, cook onion and garlic until softened. Add browned lamb and the remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with a spoon to get all the bits up. Cover the pan with foil and cook in the oven for about two hours, or until the meat is tender and coming off the bone. The sauce should be thickened as well.
Serve with a grain, like faro, barley, or rice. Garnish with fresh parsley. Pairs well with a Cabernet or Sauvignon.