Lamb Shanks with Beans, Butternut Squash and Gremolata
- SERVINGS: 2
At Mel's Bar and Grill, executive chef Ben Davis wilts fresh spinach in the hot sauce in Step 7.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 meaty lamb shanks (1 pound each)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 garlic cloves, 6 unpeeled, 2 minced
- 3 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- One 3-inch strip of orange zest
- 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 2/3 cup cooked cannellini beans
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper, add them to the casserole and brown well on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the shanks to a plate.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves, celery, carrots and onion to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until glossy, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and boil over high heat until the liquid is very syrupy, about 15 minutes.
- Return the shanks to the casserole and add the stock and orange zest. Bring to a simmer. Cover the casserole and braise the shanks in the oven for about 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender; turn the shanks from time to time as they cook.
- Meanwhile, on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash cubes with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven (along with the lamb) for about 1 hour, or until tender.
- In a small bowl, mix the minced garlic with the parsley and lemon zest. Set the gremolata aside.
- Remove the shanks from the oven and transfer to a plate. Pass the sauce through a coarse strainer, pressing hard on the vegetables. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce.
- Return the sauce to the casserole, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the lamb shanks and squash and simmer just until warmed through. Add the cannellini beans, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
- Spoon the vegetables and sauce into 2 large shallow bowls and set the lamb shanks on top. Garnish with the gremolata and serve.
A deep, rich, full-bodied Rh&ône red is the perfect mate for this lamb.