Friday, September 25, 2009

Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomatillos, Peppers & Olives

Sometimes it sucks being married to a chef - the hours are long, we don't have a lot of the same days off, and I can often feel him judging me as I slowly and wrongly chop an onion.

But then, there are the good things about the profession, like coming home from work on a Tuesday and having the dinner pictured above waiting for me. It looked spectacularly rustic, fancy enough for guests but was also an inexpensive one-pot meal. Lamb shanks are one of those cuts of meat that are much less costly than their rack and chop counterparts. For two large shanks, it cost about $6.

Our garden is flush with tomatillos and peppers right now so it was great being able to use some up in this dish. We served this over steamed quinoa and it was perfect.

For two servings:

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 mild peppers such as Anaheim or Poblano, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped tomatillos
  • 10 green olives
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa for serving

Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper. Put the lamb in a heavy, dutch oven, such as a Le Crueset and place in the oven. Turn the lamb every few minutes in order to brown it on all sides. Remove from the oven and transfer the lamb to a plate. Set aside.

In the same dutch oven, add the 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions for 5 minutes, then add the peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes more. Add the tomatillos and olives and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock, thyme and lamb to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1½ hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over the quinoa.

Adapted from a recipe in How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman


Eric said...

Ah, we're back into braising season. I'm so happy.

I usually brown on top of the stove, but I like the idea of browning in the oven because it sounds less messy. (Or is it just delayed messiness because now you have to clean your oven?)

Looks delicious! :)

Erin, A Crafty Lass said...

Browing in the oven is definitely less messy and although it may cause a little inside oven mess, it's much more contained. We've had great success with oven-browning in our house.