Braised Lamb Shanks with Potatoes and Carrots

This is not an Armenian recipe or even my Grandmother’s recipe, but I thought I’d share it on here anyway.

A note on using wine when cooking: Feel free to use “2 buck chuck” or any other cheap Cabernet Savignon here, I did. But do not under any circumstances use “cooking wine”. Cooking wine has lots of additives including a whole bunch of salt you don’t need.

3 large or 6 small lamb shanks

vegetable oil to coat pan

1 bottle cabernet savignon

1-2 boxes low sodium fat free beef broth

thyme chopped finely to taste

rosemary chopped finely to taste

zest of 1 orange

1 can low sodium diced tomatoes with juice

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 large onion, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

1 leek, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bag baby carrots

6 small red potatoes

salt and pepper to taste

enough flour to dredge the lamb shanks in

enough flat leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Put a pot big enough to hold the lamb shanks, potatoes and carrots on the stove. Spray with cooking spray or add a LITTLE oil and turn the heat to high. In the meantime, combine flour with a little salt and pepper. Dredge the lamb shanks in it and shake off excess. Sear the lamb shanks in the pot over HIGH heat. It will not burn, but it will smoke so make sure you have the fan on and the windows open. Sear on each side. It will stick at first but just leave it on until the meat releases from the pan. Remove meat from pan and set aside.

Spray the pan again or add a little oil. Turn heat down to medium. Add in onions, leeks, celery, orange zest, rosemary and thyme and saute until onions are soft and clear. Add tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and cook just a few seconds until you start to smell it.

Add entire bottle of wine. Cook until wine reduces a little and all the alcohol is cooked off. This could take a long time so be patient. Keep stirring and scraping up all the stuff that stuck to the bottom of the pan. This is known as “fond” and it is pure flavor.

Add the lamb back to the pan. Add enough beef broth to cover the shanks completely with liquid. Let the liquid come back up to a simmer, cover and cook over low heat for 2 hours.

Add in the potatoes and let cook covered on low for another 1 hour.

Add in the carrots and let cook UNcovered on medium for another 1/2 hour.

If there is still a lot of liquid, uncover, turn up to high and let it reduce until it starts to thicken. Taste for seasoning and add salt. Important: do NOT add salt until the very end. If you add it in the beginning, the sauce will reduce and it will get way too salty.

Yes, it took a long time but you are finally ready to eat and believe me, the time was worth it. Serve up in a bowl with some of the liquid and garnish with parsley. It will be the most tender flavorful lamb you’ve ever had and you just can’t rush it.

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