Lamb shanks are a fabulous way to feed your guests during the holidays. You can prepare the recipe one to two days in advance allowing the flavors, and textures, to deepen. Just yesterday, a colleague told me she made this recipe, tossed the lusty leftover sauce with basmati rice, and ate it in bed while reading the rest of the cookbook. She then decided to make her entire New Year’s Day menu from Radically Simple. (Last year she used the wonderful Jerusalem cookbook.) I like to serve this with creamy polenta (and open a bottle of Barolo) or with a rich potato gratin layered with Gruyere (and raid our cellar for an old Côtes du Rhône.) For the Christmas table I poach tiny kumquats in simple syrup until they collapse: They make a festive accompaniment and taste amazing with the lamb.
Lamb Shanks Provençal with Cabernet & Rosemary
This is nice and easy for a complicated-sounding dish. I simplify the process by quickly searing the seasoned shanks under the broiler. The lusty flavors come from dried porcini mushrooms and herbes de Provence. At the last minute, I dust the hot dish with freshly grated orange zest — the aroma is wonderful.
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 large lamb shanks, 12 to 14 ounces each
2-1/2 cups chopped leeks, white and green parts
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-1/2 cup Cabernet sauvignon
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with puree
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1-1/2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 pound slender carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch batons
1 tablespoon arrowroot
Preheat the broiler. Rub the lamb with 3 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a broiler pan; brown several minutes on each side. Wash leeks and pat dry. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoon oil in an 8-quart Dutch oven. Add the leeks and garlic; cook over high heat until softened, 5 minutes. Add the shanks, wine, tomatoes, mushrooms, and herbes de Provence. Stir to coat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour. Add the carrots, cover, and cook 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer 15 minutes, until the lamb is tender. Spoon off the fat. Dissolve the arrowroot in 1 tablespoon water and stir into the sauce. Season to taste and simmer several minutes until the sauce thickens. Serves 6