For those that have seen lamb shanks on the menu and have avoided them because of the expense, feel at ease that they really aren't that expensive in the store, nor are they hard to cook. In fact, after you have cooked "all afternoon" and served them to your family or friends, they will think you are a culinary genius.
The technique is really very simple, all it is is braising in some good bold red wine. Initially you will smell the gaminess that one recognizes when one cooks off silver skin, which lamb shanks notoriously have. But after about an hour of slow simmer the aromas are quite appealing in a sensual way. The result is fall-off-the-bone succulence. As for the wine chosen, I used our Bacons Castle Win, but our Petit Verdot would work equally well I'm sure. Bon Appetit!
4 lamb shanks
2 med.sized onions,chopped
salt & pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, chopped fine
1 bottle red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1. season the lamb shanks with salt & pepper and brown on all sides in an 4" skillet in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
2. remove the shanks and set aside. Wipe out the cooked oil and replace with 2 tablespoons of fresh oil. Add all the vegetables and continue to cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent, stirring constantly.
3. add one cup of wine and scrape off the cooked juices from the bottom and return the shanks to the pan.
4. pour in the remaining wine, plus the broth, bring to boil and then reduce to barely a simmer with lid in place.
5. braise for 2 hours. After this time the shanks should be easily skewered. Remove them from the pot and keep warm.
6. pour the juices and cooked vegetables through a colander, pressing on the vegetables to extract more flavor. Measure about a cup of the juice and boil this down to about half to make a nice sauce.
7. serve with mashed potatoes and vegetable of your choice, Oh....don't forget that glass of Petit Verdot!