This is where the magic of slow cooking transforms something that, cooked over high heat, would be very tough, into something soft and tender.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Garlic, Rosemary, and Cannellini Beans
- 4 lamb shanks, about 2 1/4 pound
- 8 small sprigs of rosemary
- 8 garlic slivers
- 4 anchovy fillets, halved
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons duck fat or olive oil
- 8 ounces bacon
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, coarsely chipped
- 1 leek, coarsely chopped
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic head, halved horizontally
- 1 cup good red wine
- 1 cup lamb stock or chicken stock
- 1 spring thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 strips dried orange peel
For the Accompaniment
- Tomato Fondue (this is basically a thick tomato sauce, see recipes online)
- 14 ounce can cannellini beans, drained or 7oz dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and then boiled rapidly for 30 minutes
- leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
- sprigs of rosemary, for garnish
- Heat oven to 300˚ F.
- Remove most of the fat from each shank and then scrape the meat away from the bone to loosen it. Make two deep incisions in each joint and insert a sprig of rosemary and a sliver of garlic wrapped in half an anchovy fillet into each incision. Season the meat with salt and ground black pepper.
- Heat the duck fat or olive oil in a heavy sauté pan or casserole and sauté the lamb until it is well browned on all sides. Remove the lamb shanks from the pan.
- Next add the bacon and cook until crisp, then add the carrots, celery, leek, onion, and garlic and cook over high heat until slightly browned. Add the red wine to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring for a minute or two. Add the stock, herbs, and orange peel to the pan, then place the lamb shanks on top. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 1/4 hours.
- Remove from the oven and add the tomato fondue, cannellini beans, herbs, and enough stock to half-cover the beans. Cover and simmer for another 3/4 –1 hour.
- When the lamb has finished cooking it should be falling off the bone. Remove the thyme, bay leaves, and orange peel. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Serve the lamb shanks in a hot, deep dish with the beans and vegetables poured over and around. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme.