Sip & Savor: Wine Braised Lamb Shank with Parmesan Polenta Recipe

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re pleased to introduce a new feature in the Herald Times, courtesy of local food and wine experts Vanessa Trout, owner of Blanco Cellars, and Scott Creecy, executive chef at Elk Creek Ranch.

By Scott Creecy, Elk Creek Ranch Executive Chef
Special to the Herald Times

(All ingredients are available locally.)

Lamb Shank
2 10-14oz lamb shanks
2  medium yellow onions chopped
2  carrots chopped
2  stalks celery chopped
4  garlic cloves
8  sprigs fresh thyme
3  bay leaf
750ml Marselan
2  cups beef stock
3  tablespoon olive oil

Parmesan Polenta
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup water
2 bay leaf
1 cup shredded parmesan
1 cup coarse ground polenta
2 teaspoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 chopped garlic clove
zest from 1 lemon
zest from 1 lime
zest from one orange
pinch of salt

Season the lamb shanks the day before with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge uncovered overnight. Pull the shanks out 1 hour before you are ready to start cooking. Pre heat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat a Dutch oven with 3 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers place the shanks in for 3-5 minutes and then turn over for another 3-5 minutes. Remove shanks to a plate, pour any excess oil out of pot and add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook these for 3-5 minutes and then add the garlic cloves. After the garlic has been in for about a minute, add the wine and reduce by half. Add the shanks back to pot, add beef stock until the shanks are almost covered and add the thyme and bay leaf. Cover pot with lid and cook for 2 1/2-3 hours until meat is fork tender.

Once the lamb is in, combine the ingredients for the gremolata. After combining place the gremolata on a flat surface to air dry.

When the lamb is finished, pull the lamb from braising liquid and set aside. Strain the braising liquid into another pot and return to stove. Bring to boil and then reduce to medium and ladle any foam out. turn the braising liquid off and set aside.

Pour the milk, heavy cream, bay leaf and water into a pot. Bring to right before boil and add polenta while stirring with whisk. After you pour the polenta in turn heat to medium low and continue to stir often with spoon. You should get the occasional bubble while cooking. It will take 10-15 minutes and have the texture of grits. Once done pull from stove and mix in parmesan and butter until fully incorporated.

Reheat the shanks in a pan with some of the braising liquid. The liquid will begin to reduce but just add more. Place the pan with the shank in the oven for 5 minutes on 375 degrees just to heat through. Pull shanks from oven and baste with the liquid in the pan. Make sure to taste the liquid for salt content, if too salty add some of the braising liquid from the original pot or water.

Place a good portion of polenta in center of plate, top with the lamb and some of the sauce from the pan and sprinkle the gremolata on top.

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