Braised Lamb Shanks With Fresh Herbs
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: Plan ahead as this needs to marinate for at least 4 hours. From Melissa Clark.
• 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
• 2 tsp. sweet paprika
• 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 5 lb. lamb shanks (5 to 6 shanks)
• Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
• 1 large sweet onion (white or red), peeled, halved and thinly sliced
• 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
• 2 tsp. coriander seeds, coarsely cracked
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne
• 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
• 1 1/2 c. dry white wine
• 2 bunches green onions, finely chopped (white and green parts)
• 2 c. chopped spicy greens such as mustard greens, mizuna, arugula or radish tops
• 1 1/2 c. chopped cilantro (tender stems and leaves only)
• 1 c. chopped parsley (tender stems and leaves only)
• 1 c. chopped mint or dill or a combination (tender stems and leaves only)
• 1/2 c. chopped tarragon (tender stems and leaves only)
• 1/2 c. chopped chives
• About 1 c. chicken or lamb stock, or water
• 2 to 3 tbsp. dried currants, optional
• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
• Fresh lemon juice, as needed, optional
In a large bowl (or covered container) 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 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat a very thin film 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 roasting pan.
When all the lamb is cooked, add onion to empty skillet and cook it in the lamb drippings, adding a bit 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). Pour over lamb.
In a bowl, toss together the green onions, spicy greens and herbs. Sprinkle lamb with half the herb mixture and set remaining half aside for serving. Cover pan with 2 layers of foil (or heavy-duty foil) 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.) Add currants and 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 2 tablespoons 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 immediately.