Thursday, February 2, 2012

braised lamb

      On a cold February night, I, like most people, often crave a big dish of meat & potatoes. I guess the cold weather brings out the inner caveman in me. Braised lamb shank is the perfect comfort food for times like this. There is nothing fussy about it - cooked and served on the bone with some simple roasted potatoes. Once cooked, the meat freezes well when taken off the bone and stored in an airtight container with the cooking liquid. You can braise a large batch and then enjoy the leftovers in soups, meat pies or pasta. I used my leftovers to make an amazing braised lamb tagliatelle, inspired by a dish my girlfriend and I enjoyed at fellow Top Chef Canada alumni Dusty Gallagher's restaurant Grace, in Toronto.  
     The technique used here is nearly identical to the one used in the braised beef recipe I posted a while back. The only difference is that with the lamb I throw in a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Braising is a technique that is well worth mastering because it works well with many different cuts of meat. It's great for cooking a luxury cut like lamb shank to melting perfection, but you can also braise cheaper cuts like blade roast for a rich and satisfying winter meal. There are also plenty of vegetables that lend themselves well to braising, as I'll show you next week with my recipe for braised fennel.

Prep time 30 mintes. Cooking time 8hrs


2 lamb shanks
2 onions, cut in half
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 head garlic, cut in half
500 ml red wine
1/2 bunch rosemary
1 tbs cornstarch
vegetable oil, salt & pepper

roasted potatoes

preheat the oven to 450F
1. Place the vegetables on a baking tray, drizzle with vegetable oil and roast in the oven at 450F until browned, about 15 minutes.
2. Season the lamb with salt & pepper. Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a large frying pan and sear the lamb shanks on all sides. Place the shanks in a large pot with the roasted vegetables, wine and rosemary. Add water until the lamb is fully covered and then cover the pot with a lid.  Lower the oven to 250F and cook the lamb for 8hrs.
3. Remove the lamb from the pot and strain the cooking liquid. Reduce the cookiong liquid down to 500ml (2 cups) Mix 1tbs cornstarch with 2 tbs cold water and stir to make a slurry. Add the cornstarch while whisking constantly and let simmer until the sauce has thickened. Return the lamb to the pot and glaze with the sauce. Serve with roasted potatoes.


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