It takes patience to cook a shank. Shank is the lower part of the leg, from the knee down and it is one of the toughest cuts you can find on a lamb. Why would I want to cook it then? Well, I only have two recipes for lamb that I favor and I was ready to try something new. Besides, when braised, lamb shank is tender, moist, mild flavored, yet savory dish and it is almost impossible to beat on a cold winter day. It is worthy of a dinner party, special occasion or just a romantic meal but I didn’t make it for any of these. I simply wanted to taste it first as I’ve been known to make guinea pigs out of my dinner guests. So far they all survived. However, not everyone has an acquired taste for lamb (It happens to be my favorite). This dish is not at all gamy, so watch out friends and family!
2 Lamb Shanks, about 1 pound each
1 large Onion, cut into large pieces
2 Garlic Cloves, slivered
1 medium Zucchini, sliced
1 small Eggplant, cut into large pieces
1 small Green Pepper, cut into large pieces
2 medium Carrots, cut into large pieces
2 medium Potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1 can (14.5 oz) Tomato Sauce, opened (ha ha)
2 cups Chicken Broth
3 Bay Leaves
2 teaspoons Rosemary
Salt and Black Pepper
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Ajvar (Optional. This is Bosnian spread made of roasted red peppers and eggplants)
The trick to delicious lamb shanks is to brown the shanks first. Sprinkle shanks generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook shanks until brown on all sides. Transfer shanks to a plate. Add onion, pepper, carrots and garlic to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes. Add eggplant, zucchini and potatoes and cook another 2 minutes. Return shanks to the pot, and then stir in chicken broth and tomato sauce. Season with bay leaves, rosemary, and ajvar, if you’re using it. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until meat is tender, about 2 hours. Serve with rice or potatoes and your favorite vegetables. Spoon juices and veggies from the pot over shanks.
Jas is a cheesecake addict and the author of Balkan Comfort Food cookbook available on Amazon. You can download a free excerpt of the book when you subscribe to All that's Jas newsletter updates. To learn more about Jas visit her About page.
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