Braised Lamb Shanks

The fall days just make me think of hearty, wholesome meals and this lamb shank is the best way to celebrate staying indoors and getting cozy.  The added bonus is that your house will smell dreamy while they slowly roast.

Lamb shank 5

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • salt & pepper
  • all purpose flour
  • olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups red wine (make sure you use good wine, something you want to sip while the lamb is roasting)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 ancho chiles, rehydrated in hot water for 20 minutes
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 14 ounce tin of good canned tomatoes

Garnish:  1 minced garlic clove, 1 small diced chili, and a small handful of parsley, all chopped and mixed.

Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper, then dust with flour.

Preheat oven to 300

Heat oil in braising pan, large enough to hold all 4 shanks in one layer.  Brown shanks all over, taking care not to overcrowd the pan.  You may have to do this in stages.

Remove shanks to keep warm while you reheat the pan, add a bit more oil and saute the onions, carrots & celery until they have softened.

Lamb shank 1

Deglaze the pan with red wine, stirring to get all the bits of goodness off the bottom.  Add beef stock, garlic cloves, ancho chili (stem and seeds removed), rosemary, paprika and tomatoes.  Stir well and nestle the lamb shanks back into the mixture.  Cover tightly and put in the oven.

Lamb shank 2

Relax with that wine …… enjoy the aromas coming out of the kitchen ….

This recipe is so forgiving – if you have more time roast at a lower temperature, if you are short, move the temperature up to 350 or 375 and shorten your cooking time.

Check for doneness and as soon as cooked through remove the lamb shanks from the braising liquid and set aside.

Lamb shank 3

The lamb is cooked, but not yet falling off the bone tender, and that is what you are looking for.

Lamb shank 4

At this point, if you want a clear stock, strain the solids off.  If you don’t mind a more rustic stock use your immersion blender or standard blender (if using a standard blender BE SURE to leave the lid off or some place for steam to escape … trust me on this).

Nestle those lamb shanks back into the liquid and continue to roast until the meat literally falls off the bone.

When ready to serve, sprinkle the garnish over top and prepare to enjoy the feast.

 

 

Chicken Chile Soup

Chicken Chile Soup

I’m not sure what is going on with the weather, but we are having an unseasonal amount of rain and grey skies.  Today just felt like soup and biscuits.  After a look into the freezer, I discovered some chicken stock, and chicken breast – perfect – I had lots of vegetables in the fridge so a hearty, warm soup was exactly what we needed.

6 – 8 cups chicken stock

3 chicken breasts, thinly sliced

1 tin (14 oz) tomato

1 dried ancho chile

1 dried guajillo chile

1 onion, minced

1 each red, green, yellow and orange pepper, roughly chopped

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 tsp ancho chile powder

1 tbsp regular chile powder

2 tbsp masa (corn flour)

Throw it all into a pot – leaving the ancho and guajillo chiles whole, and allow it to simmer – taste and adjust for seasoning – add a little salt and pepper.  If you like it spicy add more chile.

To dress the soup up a bit, garnish with chives, avocado and fresh herbs.

Spicy Sticky Back Ribs

These ribs might take a little extra time but I guarantee that you won’t find tastier ribs anywhere – and they are certainly worth the effort. 

Make sure to serve with plenty of napkins and additional barbecue sauce for dipping.

RUB

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp ground fennel
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika

BBQ SAUCE

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 can or bottle beer
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • zest of lemon or lime
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp soya sauce
4 racks pork baby back ribs, membrane removed

In small bowl combine dry ingredents.  On large baking sheet place rub both sides of ribs with dry rub, pressing and patting it in.  Cover with foil and refridgerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 250 – pour off any liquid on baking sheets, cover ribs tightly with foil and roast for 3 hours, until the meat is tender but not falling off the bone.  Pour off any liquid on baking sheet.

For the bbq sauce:

Melt butter, add onion, garlic and thyme.  Cook over moderate heat until onion has softened.  Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to boil.  Stir well and continue to cook at a moderate heat until sauce has thickened. This does take some time, and will taste better if you allow it to slowly reduce.   Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Broil or grill ribs, continuing to brush barbecue sauce over.

To serve, slice between each rib – mound on serving platter and scatter sliced green onions, lemon and lime wedges.

If you love Mexican cuisine, as we do, then make a few substitutions/additions ….

To the rub:  1 tsp smoked sweet paprika, 1 tsp ancho chile powder & 1 tsp chipotle chili powder

To the BBQ sauce:  2 tbsp of the leftover rub, replace the beer with 1/2 cup of smoky mezcal, and add 2 minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (if you can get it add 1 tbsp sour lemon)