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Earthy Braised Lamb Shanks


To go with the warm lobster salad for my dad's birthday dinner, my mom requested braised lamb shanks. I had done them for Thanksgiving last year. So, I did a variation for last night. This time - inspired by a story I'm writing - I decided to braise them in an earthy mixture of coffee, beer, and the soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms. I made a smoked paprika-cherry glaze for my dad's party; for what we ate at home, I left it as a mushroom demi-glace.

Ingredients

  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • eight 3/4- to 1-pound lamb shanks
  • white whole wheat flour mixed with 1 Tablespoon ground cardamom for dredging
  • 2 cups coffee
  • 2 cups beer (I used a coffee stout)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger syrup
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups sliced fresh oyster mushrooms
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure

Place dried shitake mushrooms in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let soak for at least 20 minutes.

Heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and leeks and sauté until brown.

Coat lamb shanks with flour and cardamom. Heat remaining 3 Tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add lamb shanks to skillet and cook until brown on both sides, about 10 minutes per batch.

Using tongs, transfer lamb shanks to plate. Add 2 cup coffee to same skillet and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Pour into Dutch oven with onion-leek mixture. Add remaining 2 cups beer, the soaking liquid from the shitake mushrooms, the reconstituted shitake mushrooms cut into thick slices, honey and ginger syrup to Dutch oven. Bring to boil. Add lamb shanks, turning to coat with liquid.

Simmer for one hour. Add in the fresh oyster and shitake mushrooms.

Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lamb is almost tender, turning lamb shanks occasionally, approximately another hour. Uncover Dutch oven and boil until liquid is reduced to sauce consistency, stirring and turning lamb shanks occasionally, about 30 minutes. They should be falling-off-the-bone tender! Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, spoon the sauce over the shanks.


I wonder if you'd get the same results by following my 132 word version of this recipe. I doubt it.

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