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Monday, July 19, 2010

Lamb Shanks Beatrice. OR. Why is Nick doing a braised dish in JULY?

Here's a recipe that I grew up on but everyone else seems to have forgotten. Let's rescue this little gem. It's in my Mom's Betty Crocker book from 1970 but I did some research and added some stuff. It resembles an Osso Bucco only kinda. Lamb shanks are cheap, about 4-5 bucks a pound.

This dish comes right out of La Provence (that's in France). Easy.
The crappy part is that I'm doin' a braised dish in the middle of summer. I hate you APS.

Chef Nick's Jarrets D'agneau Beatrice.


3-4 lamb shanks, cleaned of all silver-skin and stuff.
seasoned flour (flour with salt and pepper or whatever)
enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a heavy saute pan
one deep pot
salt and pepper
4-5 fresh tomatoes concasse, chopped. This means peeled and seeded. Get a blowtorch.
6-8 shallots, peeled, whole
1 large carrot, peeled, large dice
6 cloves garlic, peeled, leave whole
1 zucchini, large dice
1 large eggplant , large dice
1 TB tomato paste
some wild mushrooms. Today I'm using Crimini. Clean and leave whole.
 a 1 inch piece of orange peel. Right, look if you don't have this in your kitchen, go get one. This is Phoenix, should be a matter or going a few steps.
2 bay leaves
Fresh herbs. Today I'm using mint and rosemary. Chopped.
1 bottle of something like a Tempranillo, Granache, Syrah or whatever.

I plated this with some polenta but use whatever you got. Rice, potato or egg noodles work great.

Any of you who wear a white coat at the shop know how this works, we got a rataouille with a braise goin' on yo.

A few words about lamb shanks. This is the top part of the leg of lamb. Kinda looks like a big fat drumstick. Most butchers leave it behind when they bone out the leg. I talked to my butcher and he had his boys save me a few over last week. It's full of silver skin and that waxy fat that must be removed. If you don't feel comfortable doing it by all means ask your butcher. OR if you wear big boys pants grab your sharpest boning knife. There's no way to describe this except to say you stick the tip of your knife under the silver skin and slice away from you.
 The more of it you remove the better quality of your finished product. OK done right? Let's leave this behind for a bit.

Easiest mise en place ever. Large dice on everything. Peel your shallots and garlic cloves but leave whole. Go out to the garden, grab a handful of mint and a couple sticks of rosemary. Chop it up together. Mint is a seriously under-used herb.

Ok grab your blowtorch, let's get those tomatoes done. We need to do a quick concasse, removing the peels and seeds. What do you mean you don't have a blowtorch? Go get one....I'll wait. Ok great. I gotta say every time I catch one of the TV Chefs telling folks "using your gas burner, blacken the skins to remove them." I want to upchuck.

Using the blowtorch is easier, faster and doesn't heat up the house. Stick 'em on a meat fork, blast the skin until it's black, put the tomatoes in a plastic bag for a few minutes. Rub the skin off with a clean towel.

Now for those seeds, cut the fruit in half and squeeze gently and they'll just pop out. Don't throw them away. Put them in a strainer and gather up the gel and juice. Why? Try an experiment. Sample a tomato eating just the flesh part...ok now do the same thing but with only the gel part surrounding the seeds. See? All the character is in that gel and you almost threw it away. Yes it's me being fussy but I don't like waste. 

 Just dump it back with the tomatoes you just chopped.

Back to those shanks. Grab a plastic bag and put your seasoned flour in it. Make this easy. Add a shank at a time and shake the bag to coat. Shake off excess flour and set aside. 

Heat up a large pan. Splash a little oil in it and let's get to browning. All sides, golden yumminess. 

Put all that in the bottom of a large pot, dutch oven...whatever ya got. 

YAY !! It's Ratatouille time. Using the same pan, add your shallots and garlic cloves, just shake that around with some salt and pepper. We're building flavors. 

 add the rest of your vegs except for the tomatoes and mushrooms. Toss those around in the pan checking your seasoning. Add half the herbs and sweat thru. Now a cool Chef thing. Add the tomato paste and keep cooking until it starts smelling sweet. This is a great way to build flavors. The big cool Chef word for this is "pince" 

  Man oh man, doesn't that look good. Time for your chopped tomatoes. Just cook all of it together for a few minutes and dump it over the shanks in the large pot.
 De-glaze the pan with some of the red wine. Don't leave any flavor behind. 

Add your mushrooms, the rest of the herbs, tuck the orange peel under and pour the rest of the bottle of wine over. 
Bring to a simmer on the stove. Place in 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. 

That's it, you're done. Those shanks will be butter tender, serve with some of the vegetables and the sauce right from the pot. Now that I've heated my place up on one of the hottest days of the year, I'm heading out to the pool. Y'all get your grub on. Ciao. 


  1. Oh, my God! This looks fantastic! Of course, I may not be the best judge - you could roll a lamb shank in the dirt and I'd still eat it.

    But you're right - July in Phoenix has to be pretty similar to July on Florida. Maybe if you put it on at 4:30 or 5am, then serve it for breakfast...

  2. I was actually cooking this at 8:30 AM. I just couldn't justify cooking in 110 degree heat.

  3. This looks amazing! I agree it's too hot to cook anything! We really do need to get together so you can teach me how to cook! I get baking but cooking I need some help! :P

  4. Becky...I'll trade ya cooking lessons if you can teach me to make a decent pie-crust

  5. There is never a wrong time of year for a braised dish that looks this good!