Sunday, April 04, 2010

Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans (Page 512)

RECIPE #1132

  • Date: Monday, March 29, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Kitchen: Our Temporary California Home
  • Fellow Chef: Chris
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A

I had a craving for some lamb a few days ago, so I chose this recipe. I started by seasoning lamb shanks, then browning them in oil. I transferred the lamb shanks to a plate and added onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pot. I cooked the vegetables until the onion was soft, then added an entire bottle of red wine! I reduced the wine for a while, then added the lamb shanks back to the pot, along with chicken broth, tomato paste, and thyme sprigs. I braised the lamb on the stovetop, covered, for a long while. Then I simmered the lamb, uncovered, until it was very tender. Meanwhile I made the gremolata by stirring together chopped parsley, grated lemon zest, and minced garlic. To prepare the beans Chris cooked onions, carrots, celery, and garlic until softened. He added cooked white beans, chicken broth, butter, and bay leaf and cooked it for a while. When the lamb shanks were done I removed them from the braising liquid, strained the liquid, and stirred in some butter and tarragon. Then I reduced the sauce and seasoned it. I sprinkled the gremolata over the lamb shanks and served them with the white beans and the sauce. This dish was incredibly delicious! The lamb was perfectly tender -- it fell apart at the mere touch of a fork -- and tremendously flavorful. The braising liquid turned sauce was rich and delicious. That whole bottle of wine served that sauce well. The beans also were delicious. Even though the recipe started with canned beans, they came out tasting slow-cooked. The meal was satisfying, tasty, and made for excellent leftovers. This is a dish I will definitely return to again!

The recipe is here.

One thing I don't love about all the moving around I have done lately -- living for a few weeks in one place and then a few weeks in another -- is that it feels like a free pass to not do the things that I know I should be doing. For instance, I am out of shape. I am not happy about this fact, or proud of it, but it is undeniably true. After I ran the marathon in November I couldn't motivate to run. And I can count the number of times I have gone running since then on one hand. I also haven't set foot in a gym. I do walk a lot, but I feel out of shape. I tried to do a pull-up the other day, and even though I expected that I wouldn't be able to do it, I was still shocked by how pitiful my attempt was. Under normal circumstances, in this situation I would just make a plan to go to the gym regularly, or take some exercise class -- I would develop a routine. But when I am traveling so much it's hard to stick to a routine, or even come up with one that makes sense for my lifestyle. So I find myself thinking a lot, "When I get to Michigan I want to..." I think it is time for me to try a little harder in the meantime though. If anyone has suggestions for an exercise routine that is travel friendly (and isn't running -- I'm still not feeling ready yet for any serious running), I am all ears.


Chris said...

Teena's a tough grader, so that 'A' doesn't come lightly, but I'm not sure even that conveys how good this was. I've been hunting through my memory, and have come to the conclusion that this was the best lamb I've ever had. Seriously, crazy delicious. We had that Hibiscus lamb a few weeks ago that got an A-, but this was in a different league.

Chris said...

Also, I'd bet we've now found the best and worst lamb dishes in the book:
A: Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans (Page 512)
F: Chickpea, Lentil, and Rice Soup (Page 112)

Teena said...

Chris -- Glad you agree with my grading! This lamb was indeed exceptional.

Oh my gosh, I sure hope that Chickpea, Lentil, and Rice Soup was the worst lamb in The Book. I can't imagine one of the few I have left will be worse than that one...