Braised Lamb Shanks with Rosemary

Lamb shanks (from the lower section of the leg) are a full-flavored but tough cut of meat. They respond well to slow, gentle braising in aromatic liquid, emerging moist and fork-tender. The shanks are first browned in olive oil to give them color and enhance the taste.

4 lamb shanks, external fat trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cups full-bodied red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 Tbs. dried rosemary
3 garlic cloves, crushed with the side
of a knife
1 bay leaf

1) Preheat an oven to 350ºF
2) Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until nearly smoking. Working in batches if needed, brown the shanks on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a platter.
3)  Add the onions, celery and carrots to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are golden and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
4) Remove the pan from the heat, add the wine and return the pan to medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom.
5) Add the stock, rosemary, garlic, bay leaf and shanks and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, transfer to the oven and cook until the meat is almost falling off the bone, about 2 hours. Using tongs, transfer the shanks to a large serving bowl.
6) Remove the bay leaf from the cooking liquid. Using a blender or a stick blender, puree the liquid and solids until smooth. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Pour some of the sauce over the shanks and pass the rest alongside.
Serves 4.

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