lamb

Braised Lamb Shanks with Lots of Herbs

by Anne Maxfield on February 5, 2018

Accidental Locavore Lamb Shank With HerbsThis is one of those recipes that you struggle with seasonality-wise. While it’s most likely a winter recipe—braising lamb shanks until tender, the handfuls of herbs get a little costly when you can’t run out and grab them from your garden.

However, I had a few beautiful shanks from some local lamb that were crying out to be used, so I splurged and bought all (well, almost all) the herbs for this. This needs time, but it’s an easy recipe. From the NY Times Cooking this feeds 6-8.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Lots of Herbs

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 pounds lamb shanks (5 to 6 shanks)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion (white or red), peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, coarsely cracked
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 ½ cups dry white wine
  • 2 bunches scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chopped spicy greens such as mustard greens or arugula
  • 1 ½ cups chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped mint or dill or a combination
  • ½ cup chopped tarragon
  • ½ cup chopped chives
  • About 1 cup chicken or lamb stock, or water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fresh lemon juice, as needed (optional)

Accidental Locavore Herbs for Lamb ShankIn a large bowl (or Ziploc bag) large enough to hold the lamb, mix together salt, paprika and pepper. Add shanks and rub all over with spice mix. Cover and marinate for at least 4 hours (or up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 325°. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium heat, heat a splash of olive oil. Sear the lamb in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, adding more oil as needed. Take your time with this, making sure to brown the lamb all over. Transfer browned lamb to a plate.

When all the lamb is cooked, add onion to empty skillet and cook it in the lamb drippings (adding a more oil if pan looks dry) until limp and lightly browned at the edges, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, coriander, cayenne and allspice and cook until the garlic is very fragrant and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Pour in wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pan. Let mixture simmer until thickened and reduced by about a third (about 5 minutes). Add lamb back to pan and coat with the mixture.

In a bowl, toss together scallions, spicy greens, and herbs. Sprinkle lamb with half the herb mixture and set remaining half aside for serving. Cover pan and bake until meat is falling off the bones, 3 to 3 1/2 hours total, turning shanks every hour so they cook evenly. If the bottom of the pan starts to dry out before lamb is done, add a few tablespoons of the stock or water to moisten it.

When shanks are tender, transfer to a heated serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. If you like, at this point you can tear the meat off the bones; or, serve the shanks bone-in.

On top of the stove, heat roasting pan over medium-low heat. If pan is dry, add remaining stock or water and bring to a simmer. (If drippings in pan seem very fatty, spoon off some of the fat.) Bring drippings to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pan.

Once the liquid is reduced to a thin glaze, add butter to pan along with all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining herbs (save those for garnish). Whisk sauce until smooth, then taste and add lemon juice as needed. Pour sauce over the lamb and garnish with chopped herbs. Serve and enjoy!

 

Accidental Locavore Lamb Shanks in PotMy verdict: This might be my new favorite way to do lamb shanks! The shanks were so tender and the combination of cooked down and fresh herbs was delicious.

I halved the recipe because I only had a couple of shanks. Didn’t buy parsley or chives, and just added more arugula and chopped some of the green parts of the scallions finer. Would probably not bother with the tarragon either if I wasn’t doing the whole recipe.

This could easily be done in a slow cooker or Insta-Pot (and that might be my summer choice when the herbs are all in the garden), but it was pretty easy in a Dutch oven. The only issue I had was that it kept drying out, so I added more wine and when that bottle was empty, went to water.

I served it over orzo, but couscous, polenta or rice would work well.

Since it was such a success, I did it a couple of weeks later with a leg of lamb. Everyone loved it and Frank said it was the best leg of lamb he’d ever had!

 

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Lamb Tagine with Apricots

by Anne Maxfield on December 4, 2017

Accidental Locavore Lamb TagineThis lamb tagine came about because a recent special from Barb’s Butchery landed us with a nice package of lamb stew. Turned out to be beautiful meat–tender and flavorful and made this a terrific dish.

  • 4 pounds bone-in lamb-shoulder or neck, or 2 1/4 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 large Spanish onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, each 2 inches long
  • Large pinch crumbled saffron
  • 1 ¼ cups dried apricots, sliced
  • 1 cup cracked green olives, pitted and sliced if desired
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • Cooked couscous, for serving
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to 325°.

Trim excess fat from lamb. Put meat in a deep Dutch oven with the garlic, salt, black pepper, paprika, ginger and cumin. Rub spices and garlic evenly all over meat.

Thinly slice onions, then mince enough of them to yield 1/2 cup. Add minced onion to pot with lamb; reserve onion slices.

Accidental Locavore Lamb for TaginePlace pot over high heat and let cook, turning meat on all sides, until spices release their scent, about 3 minutes. Meat does not need to be browned. Add 3 cups water to pot (it should come 3/4 of the way up lamb), along with cinnamon and saffron. Bring to a simmer, then cover pot and transfer to oven. Let braise for 45 minutes.

Turn meat, then top with onion slices. Cover pot and braise for another 45 minutes to an hour, or until lamb is very tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl, leaving broth and onions in pot.

Place pot on stove over high heat and add 3/4 cup apricots and the olives. Simmer broth until it reduces by a third and thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return lamb to pot and keep warm until serving.

To serve, chop remaining 1/2 cup apricot slices. In a small skillet, melt butter. Add almonds and cook until well browned and toasted, about 2 minutes. Put couscous in a serving bowl and top with almonds and butter and chopped apricots. Pile tagine in center of couscous and garnish with herbs. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb TagineMy verdict: Well Frank’s actually, “this is one of the best tagines you’ve ever made”. The lamb made this dish—tender and flavorful, it melted in your mouth. I swapped pine nuts for the almonds and that was fine. Next time, maybe fewer apricots and some preserved lemon, sliced into slivers.

I used Castelvetrano olives and they might have been a little too subtle for the dish. The green olives looked good, but any combo of black and green would work fine. This is probably a way of saying that the dish needed salt, or in Frank’s case, harissa.

You can make this ahead of time and just finish it while the couscous is cooking.

 

 

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Lamb Curry With Spinach

by Anne Maxfield on May 5, 2016

Accidental Locavore Spinach in CurryOkay, by now you might be getting weary of yet another recipe from Made In India, but the Accidental Locavore is telling you, it’s one of the best cookbooks that’s crossed my path since David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. This time it’s a lamb stew/curry with baby spinach—perfect for spring! Serves 4.

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 3/4” piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ¾ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 ¾ pounds lamb shoulder cut into 1 ¼” cubes
  • 1 14 ounce can plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound baby spinach

Accidental Locavore Lamb for CurryIn a large Dutch oven or casserole (that has a lid) over medium heat add the oil. When it’s hot add the onions and fry for 10-12 minutes until soft, golden and starting to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chili, cumin, coriander and the diced lamb and turn the heat to medium high. When the lamb pieces have browned all over, add the tomatoes, breaking them up, tomato paste and salt. Stir well. Add ¾ cup of water, stir and bring to a boil. Cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 ¼ hours or until the meat is tender.

Remove the lid and add the spinach in bunches, cook until just wilted. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb and Spinach CurryMy verdict: Another winner! Working my way through the freezer, there was a package of lamb stew meat from our CSA so we were all set. I actually made the stew a day ahead, warmed it up and added the spinach just before we ate. You’ll need a pretty big pot as the spinach takes up a lot of room, but it does cook down. Along with (my now perfect) basmati rice, this was a great meal. When no one was looking, I added some mango chutney to mine and it was even better. Instead of grating the ginger, I just chop it really finely in my mini-chopper – it’s so much faster than grating for 10 minutes…

 

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Nopi Lamb Meatballs

by Anne Maxfield on February 25, 2016

Locavore Meatballs With CouscousEveryone loves a good meatball and while the first dish the Accidental Locavore planned to cook from the new Ottolenghi book Nopi was the Vine Leaf Beef Pie, I haven’t been able to corral enough adventurous eaters to make it worth doing (without leftovers for weeks). These lamb meatballs looked great and I had some really good ground lamb from my Four Legs Farm share. The original recipe was for six but I halved it to feed 3:

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Large pinch dried mint
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ pound Swiss chard, stems removed and greens shredded
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (whole milk) or labne
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water to form a paste
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten
  • Seeds from ½ pomegranate (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Locavore Nopi Meatballs and ChardPlace the first six ingredients in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the allspice, 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper. Mix well and form into golf-ball-sized meatballs; you should have about a dozen.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saucepan with the onion and the other garlic clove. Cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened but not browned. Add the chile and the Swiss chard and cook for 2-3 minutes until the chard has wilted. Stir in the other teaspoon of the allspice, chicken stock and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.

Locavore Nopi Meatballs With SauceIn a large mixing bowl, add the yogurt, cornstarch paste, egg and ¼ cup of water. Whisk well to form a smooth paste. Gradually spoon in the chard mixture, stirring well after each addition until the two mixtures are combined. Add a teaspoon of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper and set aside.

Pour the remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and fry for 4 minutes, turning so all sides get browned. Do this in batches if you need to.

Locavore Nopi Meatballs CookingWipe down the pan and pour in the yogurt sauce. Bring to a very gentle simmer on a medium-low heat. It should just barely be bubbling. Stir continuously in one direction to prevent the yogurt sauce from separating. Return the meatballs to the pan, stir to coat and cook on low heat, covered, for 20-25 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.

Locavore Nopi Lamb MeatballsServe garnished with the pomegranate seeds and the cilantro sprinkled on top and enjoy!

My verdict: Maybe the recipes are “restaurant food” because in a restaurant you have someone to wash the dishes! Without sounding too much like The Twelve Days of Christmas, this used four measuring spoons, three frying pans, two cutting boards, and a mixing bowl washed twice. However, if you can con someone else into washing up, this was a delicious dinner! The meatballs were tender and juicy with a nice crunch from the pine nuts. The yogurt sauce was reliable, for once not only not breaking, but adding a rich creamy touch to the lamb. It might have been because I actually used labne instead of yogurt – that’s an experiment I may have to run in the future, and I was very careful to keep the heat low. When I made this, I actually made the meatballs ahead of time, refrigerated them, made the sauce later in the day and added the meatballs until they were warmed and cooked through. Even though there are a lot of steps (and dishes), nothing is terribly difficult and the results are worth it! Next time, I’ll make the full recipe of meatballs, freeze half and do the sauce as needed. That will save a pan or two.

A special shout-out and thank you to Bob & Edesio who hand carried my signed copy of Nopi back from the UK! Come up and I’ll make the Vine Leaf pie!

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