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.