Braised Lamb Shanks with Lemon-Caraway Gremolata Recipe

Braised Lamb Shanks with Lemon-Caraway Gremolata Recipe
Staff Writer
Lemon Zest

Istock/MmeEmil

Lemon Zest

Sabrina Sexton’s Irish version of the Italian dish Osso Buco is served with root vegetables and a lemony gremolata that’s a bright addition to the tender, flavorful meat. 

Ingredients

For the lamb:

  • 4 lamb shanks cross cut into 3-inch pieces (about 8-10 pieces)
  • Salt and pepper, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups veal stock
  • 1 bouquet garni (parsley stems, bay leaf, and thyme tied with string)

For the gremolata:

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds
  • 1-1 ½ tablespoons minced parsley

Directions

For the lamb:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. If the lamb shanks are wet, pat them dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper on all sides.

Add the canola oil to a rondeau or stew pot and warm on the stove over medium heat. Add the lamb shanks to the heated pan and brown on all sides. Do not crowd the pan, brown the lamb shanks in batches if necessary. As the lamb shanks brown, remove them from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions to the pan and cook until limp and translucent. Add the diced carrots, parsnip and turnip to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for several minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the minced garlic and cook an additional minute, until the garlic is fragrant.

Deglaze the pan by adding the wine and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heat-resistant spoon to release any bits stuck to the bottom. Increase the heat and simmer the wine until it is reduced by half. Add the veal stock and heat until the mixture is simmering.

Return the lamb shanks to the pan and add the bouquet garni. Cover the pan and place it in the heated oven. Braise the lamb shanks for approximately 1 ½-2 hours, or until the lamb is tender and pulling away from the bone. Check the lamb periodically throughout the cooking. The liquid should be simmering, not boiling. Adjust the oven temperature as needed. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the lamb shanks. The longer the lamb shanks cook, the more tender they will become.

When the lamb shanks are tender, remove the pot from the oven. Remove the lamb shanks and skim any fat from the surface of the liquid. Simmer the sauce on top of the stove until the liquid reduces to a nappe consistency: the liquid should thicken slightly and coat the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Return the shanks to the sauce to rewarm and coat with the sauce.

For the gremolata:

Combine the lemon zest, caraway, and parsley.

Place the lamb shanks on plates or a serving platter. Spoon some of the sauce and vegetables over each shank and sprinkle each with the gremolata.

Lamb Shopping Tip

Look for meat that is bright red. Red meat turns paler as the hemoglobin within releases oxygen – a sign that the meat has been sitting too long at the butcher's counter.

Lamb Cooking Tip

When browning meat, resist the urge to move the meat – you must allow a flavorful crust to form over high heat. Once it has formed, the meat should slide freely with the shake of a pan.

Lamb Wine Pairing

Most red wines, especially cabernet sauvignon, but also including cabernet franc, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nebbiolo, nero d'avola, primitivo, barbera, and sangiovese.