Braised Lamb Shanks with Vegetables

We’re finding it harder and harder to find American lamb. So when Doug and I were strolling through the meat department at
BJ’s, we were delighted to see various forms of American lamb – ground, chops,
and shanks.

We opted to purchase a package of ground lamb and a
twin-pack of shanks. Ground lamb can be used for so many recipes – lule kebab,
various meatball recipes, lahmajoun topping, kufteh, kufteh balls, lamb
burgers, etc.

One lamb shank is often a hearty meal on its own. The two
that we purchased were meaty enough to feed a small army!

My sous chef, Doug, chose to make braised lamb shanks with
vegetables – a two-day process.

Our lamb shank and vegetable dinner!

Here’s what he did:

Day 1: Doug parboiled the shanks in
a large pot in lightly salted water for about 2 hours. By doing this, he cut
down on the cooking time on serving day, and ended up with a large bowl of lamb
broth for future recipes – soup, lamb and string bean stew, or whatever we were
inspired to prepare.

NOTE: The broth was allowed to cool a bit, then placed in a
large bowl with a cover. He refrigerated it overnight. Next day, he skimmed any
fat that rose to the top. Some broth was used to prepare the shanks; the
remaining broth was stored in smaller containers and placed in the freezer for
future recipes.

Day 2 – Serving Day:

Lamb shanks and vegetables ready to serve

First, Doug sautéed 1 medium onion – chopped, 3 chopped
carrots, 2 stalks chopped celery and 2 chopped garlic cloves in 2 Tbsp. olive
oil in a large pot. Then he added the shanks, 2 bay leaves, 2 cups of the lamb
broth, and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.

He placed a cover on the pot; brought it to a boil, then
reduced the heat to simmer -at this point the pot cover was tilted. The shanks
simmered for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours while Doug checked periodically to make
sure there was still enough liquid and that everything was cooking without
burning. He checked to see if the seasonings needed to be adjusted.

Once done, the tender, falling-off-the-bone lamb, was
served in individual bowls over a bed of cooked noodles (rice or bulgur pilaf
would be great side dishes, too!) with plenty of the veggies and cooking liquid
from the pot.

Crusty bread (for dipping into the juices) and salad accompaniments helped make this a
most-satisfying meal!

By the way, one shank fed the two of us!

Some of the meat from the second shank was shredded and added
to a string bean stew, while smaller bits of leftover meat were turned into a
breakfast hash with over-medium eggs on top!

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