A very typical Andalusian dish is all kinds of lamb. In Almería, you still find an amazing amount of goat farmers and you can always get a very good quality, especially when buying “cordero lechal”, the suckling kid.
A very popular way of preparing lamb in Andalusia is chuletillas de cordero de la brasa, grilled lamb chops. Another recipe that is undeniably delicious is a cordero al horno, in general, made with either the lamb’s leg or shoulder.
But today’s recipe is braised lamb shanks, which is just one of my favourites on a bit cooler days 🙂
for the braised lamb shanks
- 3 lamb shanks
- olive oil
- 1 large shallot, very thinly cut
- 1 large onion, very thinly cut
- 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 500gr. carrots, chopped medium size
- 500gr. roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 500gr. cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 150ml red wine
- 450ml beef broth, home-made or high-end product
- 6 twigs oregano
- 4 twigs rosemary
for the honey-infused Polenta
- 750ml water
- 150gr. polenta
- 250gr. grated cheese (Gouda)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp honey (best from Sierra Filabres)
- grounded black pepper
The how to …
Braised Lamb Shanks
- Season the lamb shanks generously with salt. Heat a large casserole (I love the ones from Le Creuset) and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Once hot, sear the lamb shanks until they are golden and crispy. Transfer the meat to a plate.
- Reduce the heat and add the sliced shallot and onion to the casserole. Without stirring too much, give them around 5 minutes to caramelize. Add the garlic and fennel seeds as well as the carrots. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Increase the heat again and add the roma tomatoes as well as the cherry tomatoes. Leave to cook for another 5 minutes and season with some salt. Stir in the tomato paste and add the red wine and simmer for a moment – just for the alcohol to evaporate. Add the beef broth and the herbs.
- Put in the lamb shanks and bring everything to simmer. If the liquid is not covering the meat you might add a little more red wine or some Pedro Ximenez. Reduce the heat, cover the casserole with a lid, and leave to simmer for 2 hours. Remove the lid and continue to gently let everything simmer for another hour.
- Transfer the meat to a plate again, increase the heat and leave the sauce to reduce considerably, before putting the meat back in.
- Bring the water to boil in a casserole and add a generous pinch of salt. Pour in the polenta and reduce the heat. Cook the polenta for about 5 minutes until it thickens – stir often to prevent baking.
- Add the cheese and leave to melt. Add the butter, honey, and season with ground pepper. As soon as the butter has melted the Polenta is really creamy and you should serve it immediately.
- Put a generous amount of Polenta onto a plate and put the lamb shank on top. Pour as much of the delicious sauce on top as you like and serve more sauce separately to add during the dinner.
The lamb shanks are superb to prepare for many guests. A Polenta is not good when pre-cooked, but if your mis-en-place is good, which means everything weighed and at hand, it is prepared in the blink of an eye.
The braised lamb shanks are best served with a Roble from the D.O. Ribera del Duero. My favourite is the GallinitaCiega from Bodega Arrocal.