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Braised Lamb Shanks Provencal from All About Braising

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On the "what are you cooking over labor day weekend" thread, I mentioned that I would be attempting braised lamb shanks from All About Braising by Molly Stevens. Maillard asked me to report back, and I'm here to say that it was a success! Sorry I don't have a photo, but I got caught up in the moment and in eating it.

Here's a link to the recipe online (scroll to bottom): http://www.ocregister.com/ocr/2005/02...

I just purchased this cookbook so this was my very first recipe. I preseasoned the shanks w/ S&P a couple days before. I only made two meaty shanks in my All-Clad skillet so cut the ingredients by 1/2 to 2/3. I used water instead of chicken broth. Overall, it came out really well. The meat was melting and rich, and the musty gamey quality was offset by the bright, acidic Provencal sauce. I really liked the addition of lemon segments and Nicoise olives. Served w/ couscous and sauteed zucchini and yellow squash w/ fresh mint.

Overall, the recipe was well-formatted so that it's easy to follow step by step. Written in a standard, basic way, I sorta wish it had a little more descriptive detail and flourish. The intro in the book is very thorough and discusses braising technique and equipment in detail; I need to read it more carefully. Can't wait to cook more from this now that it permanently feels like fall...

My butcher asked me if I wanted the bone of the shank cracked, and not really sure, I said yes. Didn't look as pretty for presentation, but I thought it might enhance the sauce w/ the marrow more exposed. Which way do you prefer and why?

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  1. CL, thanks for the report. For me, I tend to like the uncracked bone-- it's a prettier presentation, and I don't find the sauce to be markedly different. If I've got a lot of company when serving this, though, I make it a day ahead, let the meat cool, and carve it from the bone to serve in the gently reheated sauce over polenta or sauteed shredded celery root-- while some of my guests enjoy eating off the bone, others have more trouble for whatever reason, and if it's already carved, then everyone's on about the same pacing of the meal.

    This is probably my favorite cookbook to come out in the last few years. Her recipes _always_ work-- I pretty much make anything she writes about in Fine Cooking, and her One Potato, Two Potato book is one I refer to a lot in the winter, even though I try to go easy on the starches.

    Tons of other recipes in the book worth making, and lots of posts, as I am sure you know... happy braising!

    1. Thanks for the report...we love lamb shanks, well, any lamb, really. And that book is one that I keep borrowing from the library because every recipe I've tried is delicious; one of these days, I'll buy it!

      1. thanks for the report! I love braising, and now that fall is here, I'll have to dig out that cookbook from my collection. I recently braised veal shanks and per Susan Spungen, added a slice of orange and a slice of lemon peel to the braising liquid. It sure brightened the flavor!