Friday, August 2, 2013

Lamb Shanks

Last year we bought two lambs from a local farmer.  We have enjoyed experimenting with all of the different cuts of lamb.  Lamb Shanks anyone?  This was both the first time I have cooked and eaten lamb shanks.  After doing some research, I decided to try using two different methods and compare them.

The first recipe was a Barbecue Lamb Shank style.  For this one, I made a fresh herb paste, using fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary and mint from the garden.

I trimmed the "silver skin" off of the lamb shanks (or at least as much off of it as I could).

Then I coated the shanks in the paste.

And tucked them away in a zip lock baggie for about 12 hours in the refrigerator.

The next recipe was a long slow braising technique which finished on the grill.  All this recipe used was chicken broth, red wine, lots of fresh garlic and a squeeze of lemon.

Put all the ingredients in the pot and simmer for about three hours, flipping the shanks every 1/2 hour.

I also put together a pan of fresh vegetables to roast on the grill - par cooked potatoes, celery, carrots, onions and a mix of sweet peppers - brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with a little kosher salt.

The barbecue lamb shank when on the grill one hour and twenty minutes before eating time at about 250 degrees F.  We put the carrots on at about the 1/2 hour mark.

Then piled the braised lamb shanks and the rest of the veggies at about 20 minutes left. 

The delicious platter of lamb shanks and grilled vegetables.

While both recipes were good, I liked the barbecue lamb shank recipe better.  It had so much flavor from the fresh herb paste, and also from being in the grill for longer. 

Recipe #1 - Barbecue Lamb Shanks

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 3/4 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • Finely chop fresh herbs.  Combine all chopped herbs and everything else except the lamb shanks.  Stir  until the mixture forms a paste.  Trim as much silver skin as you can from the lamb shanks. Coat the shanks with the seasoning paste, place in a plastic storage bag, and refrigerate for 12 hours.  Build a fire (wood or a combination of charcoal and wood) for indirect cooking by situating the coals on only one side of the grill, leaving the other side void. When the cooker reaches 250°F, place the lamb shanks on the void section of the grill. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the lamb reaches 125°F for rare, 135°F for medium rare, or 145°F for medium. Let the lamb rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.


    Recipe #2: Braised Lamb Shanks

    • 4 lamb shanks, each about 1 pound
    • 1 cup Port or red wine
    • 8 cloves garlic (don't bother to peel them)
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 1/2 fresh lemon 
     Combine the lamb shanks, wine, chicken broth, and garlic in a skillet just large enough to hold the shanks. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil; cover and turn the heat so that the mixture simmers gently. Cook, turning about every 30 minutes, until the shanks are tender, at least 2 hours and more likely longer.  Remove the shanks and strain the sauce. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill or the broiler; the rack should be 4 to 6 inches from the heat source, and the fire hot.  Grill or broil the shanks until nicely browned all over, sprinkling them with salt and pepper and turning as necessary; for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, reheat the sauce gently; season it with salt and pepper, then squeeze the lemon and add juice. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Serve the shanks with the sauce.
 Note: I cooked a total of 4 lamb shanks and cut each of these recipes in half.  

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