I cook frequently from all the River Cafe cookbooks, but the first one remains my favorite. As the Bay Area weather gets colder and wetter (Isn't January over YET?) this simple but succulent recipe for lamb shanks never fails to satisfy.
Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks
(slightly adapated from "The Rogers Gray Italian Country Cookbook" by Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray)
6 small lamb shanks
flour for dusting
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablesppons olive oi
6 red onions, peeled and sliced fine
1 handful chopped fresh rosemary leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled and choppe
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 + 1/4 cups red wine
Preheat the oven to 300-degrees.
Dust the lamb shanks with seasoned flour.
In a heavy-bottomed pan with a lid, heat the oil and brown the shanks on all sides, then remove. Lower the heat heat, add the onions, and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until light brown. Add the rosemary and garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Raise the heat and add the balsamic vinegar and the wine. Reduce for a couple of minutes.
Return the shanks to the pan, reduce the heat and cover with a piece of moistened parchment paper and the lid. Place in the oven, lower the heat to 275 or even 250 and cook until the meat is very tender -- start checking after two hours, but I usually find it requires *at least* two and a half hours at this temperature.
While they cook, check the shanks from time to time, basting with the juices or adding more wine if they look too dry. Serve whole, with the onion strands and pan juices.
Here's what remained from tonight's dinner:
Although these look as if a famished Henry VIII had attacked them, they still had enough lamby flavor to thrill the resident Border Collies.