Braised Lamb Shanks With Peppers
Hearty and aromatic, this braised lamb dish, adapted from my mother, Annette Gertner, takes inspiration from the Middle East by way of Eastern Europe. It simmers mostly unattended and even benefits from being made earlier in the day — or even a day or two in advance — and reheated. The four shanks yield four copious portions. (The recipe will serve six if every guest does not insist on having a bone.) Orzo alongside will sop up the sauce.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4small-to-medium lamb shanks (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), excess fat and silver skin removed
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1large green bell pepper, cored, ribs removed, cut in 1/2-inch strips
- 1large red bell pepper, cored, ribs removed, cut in 1/2-inch strips
- 4small yellow onions (about 1 pound), peeled and quartered vertically
- 3large garlic cloves, smashed
- 1teaspoon dill seed, crushed in a mortar
- 1teaspoon paprika, preferably Hungarian
- ½teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1cup chicken stock
- ½cup dry red wine
- 3tablespoons tomato paste
- 1tablespoon dried oregano
- 3tablespoons lemon juice
- 2tablespoons minced fresh dill
Step 1Pat dry lamb shanks. In a heavy casserole or Dutch oven that will hold all the shanks, heat oil on medium-high. Add lamb shanks and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove to a platter. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Step 2Add bell peppers and onions to the pan. Sauté, stirring, until the vegetables wilt and just begin to color, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, dill seed, paprika and cinnamon. Stir. Add stock and wine. Bring to a simmer. Stir in tomato paste and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice. Return lamb shanks to the pot along with any juices on the platter. Cover them with a piece of parchment or waxed paper, cover pot with lid, reduce heat to very low and cook about 2 hours, basting the shanks occasionally and turning them at least once until the meat is very tender when pierced with a knife.
Step 3Remove shanks from the pot. Increase heat to medium and reduce sauce by about a third, about 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Return shanks to the pot, baste and reheat. Serve directly from the casserole or transfer to a serving dish. Strew with fresh dill before serving.