We started March with almost summer-like temperatures in the mid-70s and now the first day of spring, we’re expecting a snow storm! I decided to take advantage of the hopefully last cold days to make Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shanks in the slow cooker. Always make a braise the day before, the flavors are much better the next day and it gives you an opportunity to remove easily remove the fat before reheating.
Eric went to Stew Leonard’s and picked up some beautiful grass-grown lamb shanks from the Amish country. For the Mediterranean flavors, I chose sundried tomatoes, Dijon mustard, herbes de Provence, saffron and a lovely Italian red wine. I had ¾ cup of cornmeal in the cupboard and decided to make a soft polenta and some sauté some shaved Brussels as my sides.
The snow came Sunday night and it was a beautiful sight to wake up to this morning! The sun glistening on the snow-covered limbs and a brilliant blue sky. The snow didn’t even stick to the paved surfaces and the barely three inches we got are melting away quickly!
Happy Spring everyone!
- 8 Lamb shanks
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
- 2 cups diced onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 cup sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons dried herbes de Provence
- Pinch saffron
- 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 cup stock or water
- ¼ cup pitted and sliced Nicoise olives
- ¼ chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley
- zested lemon peel
- Generously season both sides of the lamb shanks.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the lamb shanks in batches.
- Add a little more oil if needed and stir in the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring once.
- Add the wine, sundried tomatoes, mustard, herbes de Provence and saffron, stir to combine, bring to a boil and reduce by three-quarters.
- Stir in the tomatoes and stock/water. Add the lamb shanks, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until fork tender.
- Combine the olives, herbs and lemon peel. Plate the lamb and sprinkle the garnish over the top.