• Kate

Braised Lamb Shank Stew

This is where this becomes an experiment for me. I have never cooked lamb before. I only remember eating lamb a handful of times. My grandfather always enjoyed a rack with mint jelly around the holidays. As a kid, I could forgo the mint jelly. It has been so long that I am not sure if I even enjoyed the lamb. I was going to go for it though...

Dressed in black and perched atop the end of the world. The wind is whipping through your cloak as you desperately try to pull it closer to your body. Your watch has ended, if only temporarily, and you head back to the living world. I could easily see these men of the Night’s Watch gathering in the almost warmed halls, huddled together to find a few laughs as they spooned lamb stew. Full of potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and meat that would fall off the bone.

Braised Lamb Shank Stew

  • 2 Lamb Shanks (I only had myself and another for dinner so I only needed two. If you have more coming you may add to this number. The rest of the stew serves 4)

  • 2 Lg Carrots

  • 4 Red Potatoes

  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped

  • 8 Oz Mushroom

  • 3 Shallots

  • 2 Tbsp Flour

  • 1 C Red Wine

  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste

  • 32 Oz Beef Stock

  • 1 Sprig of Sage

  • 1 Tsp Dried Thyme

  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

  • Egg noodles

Times like these I wish I had a butcher or the expendable income to continuously use one. It would be nice to walk into a small, locally owned space. To be on first name bases with the person behind the counter. But, until that day arrives I take the trip to Whole Foods and walk past their counter with their, sometimes, helpful staff.

I was on the hunt for lamb, which offers small pickings since there are not too many popular cuts. Not like beef. This particular day was even slimmer than I even expected it to be. I am talking one shank, one chop, and I think something else.

After a pretty painful encounter with the person behind the counter, I was able to get her to go in the back and produce a whole new tray of shanks. I walked away with two and headed home to start this process.

Let your meat come to room temperature, wash it, and pat dry. Generously salt and pepper both sides while you heat your dutch oven over a medium-high flame. Preheat your oven to 350℉.

While your pot is heating up let us prep all of our veggies. Peel your carrots and chop them into a thick 1” round. Quarter your potatoes and your mushrooms, half the small ones. Peel your shallots and garlic. Slice the shallots and finely dice the garlic. Set aside until it is time to use them.

Once you can feel the heat coming up from the pan drizzle about 1 Tbsp of olive oil and place both shanks into the pot. Sear both sides for a total of 10 minutes until the skin begins to brown.

This is the first time I cooked lamb and I was not prepared for the smell that was about to waft out of the pot. It was a lot on my senses. It was not a bad smell, per-say. It was just a gamey smell, one that I was not familiar with.

After you have finished searing remove the meat from the pan. Toss the garlic and onions into the pot that still contains the drippings from the meat. Keep them moving around the pot until the shallots are translucent to avoid burning.

Sprinkle the shallots and garlic with flour and toast until a pleasant nutty aroma fills your nose. The flour will combine and cook with the fat from the lamb to create a roux that will work to thicken the gravy of our stew.

Next comes the wine. Simmer until the liquid reduces to about half then add the beef stock and tomato paste. Drop in your sprig of sage and dried thyme and give it a good stir.

Return the meat to the pot and set into your oven with the lid on. Set your timer for one hour.

After your hour is up, take the pot out of the oven. Add in your vegetables and stir the contents to make sure the veggies are submerged. Return the pot to the oven for another hour to continue cooking. Braising the lamb in the liquid will help break down the meat so it falls off the bone, which is a wonderful thing.

Remove the pot again from the oven and take out the meat. Place the lamb on a plate and tent it with foil to keep warm. Turn the burner on under the pot and bring the liquid to a simmer, uncovered, so the liquid can thicken up.

We are going to serve this stew over egg noodles so begin to boil a pot of water.

If you would like your gravy to be thicker we can make a separate roux on the side. To do this melt a Tbsp of butter in a small saucepan and toast a Tbsp of flour. Ladle in a few cups of the liquid to temper the roux and avoid clumps. Whisk the tempered liquid into the larger pot and allow it to continue to simmer until it is your desired thickness. If you begin to worry that you may overcook the vegetables you may remove them like we did the meat. I promise I won’t tell, simply return them to the pot when it is time to serve to warm them back up.

When it is almost time to serve begin to cook the egg noodles, they will not take too long about 6 minutes. I prefer mine al dente so I recommend not relying on the time and instead check the noodles every few minutes until you are pleased.

Plate your noodles and dish out your stew with a lamb shank for each guest. The meat should fall off the bone to be easily enjoyed with the wonderfully rich gravy! Please enjoy with a fork, a spoon, a knife, or go at that shank with your hands! Your watch has just begun.

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