Braised lamb shanks with barley risotto

When the weather turns cold, it's time for braised meats.

November is here, which means it's time for hearty and rich braised meats. This recipe for braised lamb shanks, by Lil MacPherson of The Wooden Monkey in Halifax & Dartmouth, N.S.,  is perfect for when the weather turns chilly. You can find it in the new Goodness: Recipes and Stories cookbook by the Neal Brothers, which includes chefs recipes as well as stories about how food impacts the community. Half of the proceeds will go to Community Food Centres Canada.

Lamb shanks

1 tbsp oil
4 lamb shanks, about 1 lb each
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 leek, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 cups port
4 cups vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper to taste and cook until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer browned shanks to a plate.

To the same pan, add onion, carrots, celery, leek, and sweet potato and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes, until garlic is fragrant. Stir in bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme. Add port, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Return browned shanks to pan. Add just enough stock to cover shanks (they should be submerged). Cover pan with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven. Roast for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, turning over halfway through cooking time, until shanks are tender and cooked through. Remove foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Barley risotto

1 tbsp oil
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp dry white wine
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 cups cooked pot barley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add shallot and garlic and sauté until lightly brown, about 4 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in cream and parsley, and return to a boil.

Stir in barley and cheese. Cook until barley absorbs cooking liquid and becomes thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve, divide barley risotto among serving plates. Top with braised lamb shank. 


4 servings