Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Lamb shanks in Wine Sauce

Autumn has well and truly arrived in its picturesque glory. The vibrant colours, the smell of wood fires burning, beautiful sunny crisp days and comfort food on the stove. It truly is a beautiful season, preparing us for the colder days to come.
My all time favourite cut of meat has to be the lamb shank. When we were kids, the lamb shank was always at the centre of arguments as to who would receive this juicy, succulent joint from the lamb roast. Back then, lamb shanks were considered a cheaper cut, and when feeding 4 hungry children, my mother would often buy a heap of shanks, at least one for each of us, to stretch her meager budget, as well as keeping peace at the dinner table.

Nowadays, the humble shank has skyrocketed to fame and fortune, deservedly so, taking on the new title of "Frenched Lamb Shanks". It is now leaner and supposedly more attractive to the eye. The taste will never alter, however the cost of the revamped shank seems to have risen as much as it's popularity. No longer is it a poor mans dish. It now receives star status on many a restaurant menu. If worse came to worse, I'd consider selling one of the children just to finance a meal of tender lamb shanks. Hopefully, for their sake, this won't happen in the near future.

My preferred method of cooking shanks is in the pressure cooker. And this recipe, with the richness of red wine and balsamic, was just the perfect autumn dish, and one I'll be "throwing together" on a week night more often. Served with pan fried rosemary and garlic potatoes, and a tossed salad, it was worthy of being shown on any classy restaurant menu.


2 large lamb shanks

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T. olive oil

10 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole

1/2 cup chicken or mushroom stock

1/2 cup port wine

1 T. tomato paste

1/2 t. dried rosemary (I used a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary)

1 T. butter

1-2 T. balsamic vinegar

Trim the excess fat from the shanks and season then with salt and pepper to taste. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker. Add the shanks and brown on all sides. When they are almost browned add the garlic cloves and cook until they are lightly browned, but do not burn them. Add the stock, port, tomato paste, and rosemary, stirring until the tomato paste dissolves. Close the pressure cooker and bring up to full pressure. Reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes. Release the pressure and remove the lamb shanks. Return the pressure cooker to the stove and boil uncovered for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce. Whisk in the butter and the vinegar. Serve sauce over lamb shanks.

Laurie, from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska would have to be one of the most envied bloggers in the blogosphere, as she has a home in Alaska as well as Greece, and she is hosting Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging this week. Her amazing Greek dishes are to die for, so head over to her blog for a real food fest.


Laurie Constantino said...

If I smack my lips, I can almost taste the wonderful sauce. Like you, I love lamb shanks and have noted over the years their continuing increase in price. They're worth it, particularly when cooked in port as you've done. Thanks for a terrific Weekend Herb Blogging recipe.

Kalyn said...

I love lamb shanks, but I've never cooked them myself. This version sounds wonderful.

MyThreeDaughters said...

Hi from a fellow Victorian. The roadsign looks Victorian.
I haven't had lamb shanks lately.

Pam said...

Hi Laurie, lamb shanks have to be the tastiest part of the lamb, so I'm happy to indulge occasionally.
Kalyn, they are very easy to prepare, with a multitude of ways to cook them.
Hi mythreedaughters, yes the photo is from a residential street in Bright, at the foot of Mt. Buffalo. Beautiful spot, especially in Autumn.