Lamb Shanks Braised with Cinnamon and Honey

Winter 2012
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food and drink

BY: Julia Aitken

The only possible accompaniment for this rustic dish of tender lamb shanks is mashed potato but, in a pinch, hunks of crusty baguette will mop up the flavourful juices nicely too. Since frozen lamb shanks often come in packages of three, feel free to braise all of them; the meat from the leftover one would be perfect added to a shepherd’s pie or tucked into a wrap with crisp salad greens and tzatziki.

2 lamb shanks, about 10 oz (300 g) each
¾ tsp (4 mL) kosher salt
¾ tsp (4 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
1 cup (250 mL) low-sodium beef or chicken stock
¼ cup (60 mL) liquid honey
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tbsp (30 mL) Worcestershire sauce
4 bay leaves
Finely chopped parsley for garnish

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

2 Pat lamb shanks dry with paper towels, then sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook lamb shanks for 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. Remove lamb shanks to a large plate.

3 Reduce heat to medium and add onion to fat remaining in pot. Cook, stirring often, for 4 to 6 minutes, until onion is golden brown. Add cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

4 Stir in stock, honey, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pot.

5 Return lamb shanks to pot, cover tightly and transfer to oven. Cook for about 1½ hours or until lamb is very tender, turning lamb shanks over halfway through cooking time.

6 Remove lamb shanks to a warm plate, cover and keep warm. With a slotted spoon, remove garlic and set aside. Discard bay leaves. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from skins and mash smoothly. Whisk garlic into cooking juices and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until juices have reduced and thickened slightly. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

7 Place lamb shanks on 2 warm plates. Spoon cooking juices over shanks and sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 2