by Rocky » August 27th, 2011, 10:53 am
I hope you might be able to help. I live in the Caribbean and my sister is coming down to visit to celebrate her 40th birthday which is on 20 September. She arrives on the 19th and I also get back from being away for two weeks on the 19th in the evening so there will be very little chance to shop (and as we are 'out of season' shops aren't very well stocked). She has said she would love me to cook lamb for her birthday dinner. I looked in the shops and found a small boneless leg of lamb but it was $95 which is madness. There are also lamb shanks as an option. I suppose I have three questions really.....
Are lamb shanks nice (I am not much of a lamb eater)
Does anyone have a tried and tested nice recipe
And perhaps most importantly, can I make the dish before I go and freeze it - do lamb shank dishes freeze ok?
The Friday afterwards 15 of her friends are arriving for a long weekend but that is a different headache! I feel so lucky to live here but sometimes wish it wasn't so appealing to the constant stream of visitng friends and family!
Thanks so much in advance.
I'm not an expert on lamb shanks. My mom used to buy prepared, pre-frozen ones for my dad that she would bake in the oven for years. He developed a taste for them during years on the road eating at a Greek restaurant that used to offer them all-you-can-eat at one of his weekly stops.
Since he's moved in with us, we can't afford the cost of the institutionally packed, prepared ones and the local grocery chains offer them on sale occasionally. I'll make him two based on a simple recipe that I found some time ago in a pressure cooker owner's manual. It's either that or very long and slow cooking times in the crock or dutch oven.
We dust both sides of the shanks with rosemary,thyme,black pepper,and a little salt that have been pulverized together in a mortar and pestle.
Brown the seasoned shanks at the bottom of the PC for a few minutes on each side in some oil on both sides and remove to a plate.
Lower heat and add some minced garlic to the oil and fond for around a minute. Deglaze with a cup of cooking wine when the garlic just begins to darken and return the shanks.
Cover, bring up to pressure for 30 minutes. Fast release. The remaining liquid should be good for a sauce or reduce a bit.
We've been using this recipe for almost 8 years and my Dad's been happy with it sereved with rice or orzo. I've tried a few others with tomatoes or rosemary and mint and he seems to favor this combination the best.
We've flash frozen them pre-cooked on a pizza pan in the freezer when we've found a good deal and packed them in the vacuum bags with some sauce. We've never eaten them, but we haven't gotten any complaints when we've used the microwave defrost function
Lamb shanks are awesome, but they take time to cook.
Jeremy has it right.
Good wine, good stock, good herbs and patience.
I like to serve them over orzo pasta or polenta.
But white rice works just fine since you will have a lot of delicious braising liquid-some folks might even strain the liquid and reduce it prior to serving-adjusting the seasoning of course and perhaps adding a pat or two of butter. Instead of butter, my wife likes it when I add a bit of red wine vinegar or orange juice to add some acidity.
Indeed please let us know what you do!
As an aside, a leg spit roasted over an open fire with a simple mint pesto is killer.
You're good on all counts. Yes, they are delicious and I think they should freeze ok (certainly much better than a leg of lamb preparation).
Here's an idea:
Heat a dutch oven on stove top with a few tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom
Salt and pepper the shanks heavily (they can take a lot of seasoning)
Brown them for around 5 minutes per side or until they have good color
Remove from pan
Using the drippings, saute some chopped vegetables and potatoes if you want as well
Carrots and onions work well but you can throw in whatever you have locally that seems fresh
When the vegetables have color, throw the shanks back in and pour in enough red wine or stock to nearly cover the shanks and vegetables.
Cover and put in the oven at a low (250 degrees) temp for 3 hours or so
You can also do this on the stovetop but keep watching it
If there's too much liquid, take the top off and continue cooking
There are lots of recipes out there that can help you figure out what else you might add (maybe some bay leaves in the beginning) but it's good when done simply too.
It should freeze ok since it's cooked through and sort of has its own sauce
Enjoy and please report back!