Braised Lamb Shank with Provencal Spices
Driving through the Provencal countryside in the spring is defined by random “slam-on-the-brakes” encounters. Between arresting seas of red poppies and flocks of sheep and goats in the middle of the road (when you least expect it), the season might be telling you to slow down.
Sheep (and goats) in Provence roam the fields in the early spring and late fall, the summer months the herds are transported to higher, cooler ground for grazing. When you order lamb in Provence you can be sure it is local. David’s dish from Cocoa & Lavender is a delicious combination of tender braised lamb and the wild herbs of Provence.
Provençal Braised Lamb Shank
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
- 4 Lamb shanks about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each
- to taste sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large Onion diced
- 2 Carrots peeled and diced
- 2 ribs Celery diced
- 1 cup White Wine
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes divided
- zest of 1 orange
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 sprigs fresh tyme
- 1 sprig Fresh rosemary
- 3 fresh Bay Leaves
- 2 cups Chicken stock
- 1/2 cup oil-cured olives pitted and halved
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix flour and paprika on a large, flat plate.
- Season lamb shanks generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Dredge lamb shanks in flour-paprika and set on a plate.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large paella or other frying pan with a tight-fitting ovenproof cover.
- When the oil is shimmering and easily coats the bottom of the pan, add the shanks and brown on each side until golden - about 3-5 minutes per side.
- Remove shanks from the pan and set aside on a plate.
- Add the mirepoix - onions, carrot, and celery - and sauté for about 5 minutes to soften the vegetables.
- Add wine, 1 cup crushed tomatoes, and citrus zests to the pan. Stir, and bring to a simmer; cook about 5 minutes, until somewhat thickened.
- Meanwhile, tie together thyme sprigs, rosemary and bay leaves to make a bouquet garni.
- Add to the pan along with the stock. Stir, and bring to a simmer.
- Add lamb shanks, cover the pan, and place in the oven. Braise (covered) for about 3 hours, turning shanks every half hour, until lamb is completely tender.
- After 2 1/2 hours, add the pitted olives.
- After the three hours, remove lamb shanks to a warmed plate and cover with foil.
- Remove bouquet garni and discard.
- Bring pan with sauce to a simmer. Skim off as much fat as possible.
- Add remaining 1 cup crushed tomatoes and reduce heat until sauce thickens.
- Serve lamb shanks on polenta or mashed potatoes with a good helping of the sauce on top.
- Serve immediately.