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Side for lamb shanks...polenta or parsnip puree?

Am making braised lamb shanks for dinner tonight and I can't decide on what to serve them on. My two top ideas right now are polenta or a parsnip puree. Any better ideas? Or maybe I should say "different" ideas?

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  1. My basic like is roasted garlic mashed potatoes, but if I have the foresight like you i would go in a different direction from the taters.

    Of your two choices I like the polenta better, and have used with braised short ribs in the past (both grilled and pureed). The other night i had pureed celeriac and it was an outstanding side to a braised duck breast in honey and thyme with a cherry sauce.


    1. Frankly, I roast parsnips and potatoes in olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary.

      I like the Polenta Idea.

      Why not do polenta and then roast parsnips under the lamb?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Diana

        Cause the SO doesn't really like parsnips. So, unless I "hide" them (as in double sieving them to make them "look" like mashed potatoes) there will be a revolt. It's a game we play.... :)

        Good idea for when we are having company though....

      2. Couscous is an excellent accompaniment for lamb shanks. You can use either Moroccan or Israeli.

        2 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          Or bulgur -- I'm into bulgur right now. But I don't think the OP was looking for other options. Of the two, I'd go with the parsnips -- I think the slight bitterness of the veggies will help balance the richness of the lamb better than polenta.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Oh no...I'd love other suggestions! I have been thinking of what to serve for so long that I seem to have blinders on ....can only think of polenta or parsnip puree. When I read "couscous" I had a "Duh!" moment. :)

        2. I only eat lamb shanks with green beans. Must be an arab thing.

          1. I am cubing parsnips as I type for a beef stew I am making. Last week I put some in a soup and they were so good and sweet. So I definately weigh in for the parsnips. I can see the puree idea as a way to ahem "intoduce" new foods. Things that go well with parsnips are potatos, carrots, apples, or sweet potatoes. Adding butter and garlic seldome hurts anything IMHO as well.

            And if you are in a cooking mood, definately make the polenta as well. That "leftover"s so well it is worth it.

            I always cook BIG on weekends, with muliple sides, so BF can have various different and good lunches for work. He can feel the love.

            1. Lentils are easy and have such a nice, nutty flavor that goes well with the richness of lamb. I prefer the green lentils.

              Heat olive oil and saute onion (& possibly red pepper) until lightly caramelized and then add stock and lentils. Cook until done.

              1. A honey poached pear is excellent. Helps cut through the heaviness of the lamb shank.

                1. If you are thinking of fresh polenta, like the grits stuff, then it might be difficult because it would set up once it gets to room temp. If it's for company, the parsnip puree would be easier because it's more stable.

                  1. Thanks. Yes, that's true. (About the polenta setting up) It's just for the DH and myself though. I ended up deciding on couscous and parsnip puree.

                    1. I know it's a little late. But whenever I make lamb shanks I serve them with risotto. It's a bit of work but it makes the whole meal true comfort food.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: daily_unadventures

                        I normally would have included that in my choices, but we just had rack of lamb with roasted squash and leek risotto for Valentines day...