Braised Lamb Shanks

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Chef Joachim Splichal made braised lamb shanks for Julia Child on her classic show In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs.

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

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Ingredients

  • 3 hind shanks of lamb cut in half crosswise
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • For flavoring the braise:
  • 1 medium yellow onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium leek trimmed, quartered and washed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots coarsely chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk coarsely chopped
  • 1 extra large shallot peeled
  • 4 large cloves garlic--unpeeled crushed
  • Unsalted butter
  • 6 ripe plum tomatoes unpeeled, halved and quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup veal stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Barley risotto
  • Sprigs of fresh parsley leaves

Directions

  1. Browning the Lamb: Salt and pepper lamb shanks, dredge in flour, and pat off excess. Set casserole over moderately high heat; when hot, swirl in just enough butter to film bottom of pan. As butter foam subsides, lay in lamb shanks and sauté, turning often with tongs until all pieces are browned on all sides. Remove casserole from heat; set shanks on a side dish. Remove excess fat from casserole, but leave a film of fat to cook vegetables. Return to burner over moderate heat. Stir onion, leek, carrots, celery, shallot, and garlic into casserole, if necessary adding more butter to coat. Sauté, stirring frequently, for several minutes until lightly browned; stir in tomatoes. Raise heat to moderately high, add thyme and bay leaf and cook 4 minutes more, stirring frequently until vegetables are softened and tomatoes render juices. Return shanks to casserole. Pour on stock and wine, if necessary adding more liquid to cover ingredients. Bring to a simmer on top of stove, then cover and set in preheated 350 F oven. Shanks are done when meat is tender if pierced with a fork and can be pulled cleanly away from bone.
  2. Degreasing the Braising Liquid: Remove lamb shanks to side dish, covering with foil to keep warm. Strain contents of casserole into clean saucepan, pressing on ingredients to extract all liquid and discarding solids. Using a ladle, skim any visible fat off surface of liquid. Set braising liquid over high heat to reduce by half, skimming fat off surface. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Just before serving, remove from heat and swirl in butter. Mound risotto in center of plate; arrange lamb shanks on top and ladle sauce over meat. Scatter parsley leaves and serve.

Tips/Techniques

Special Equipment Suggested: heavy 8-quart covered casserole with cover, tongs, strainer, 2 1/2-quart saucepan, and a warm platter