- 3 tablespoons ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
- 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
- 2 tablespoons minced thyme
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 6 lamb shanks (1 to 1 1/4 pounds each), trimmed of excess fat
- 2 celery ribs, very coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion, very coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 8 cups rich veal stock
- In a small bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, curry powder, rosemary, thyme, garlic and pepper. Stir in 6 tablespoons of the olive oil to make a paste and season it generously with salt. Place the lamb shanks in a large roasting pan and rub them with the spice paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Return the lamb to room temperature. Scrape off most of the spice paste from the shanks. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Add half of the lamb shanks and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 10 minutes; transfer the shanks to a plate. Wipe out the skillet. Lower the heat to moderate and repeat with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and lamb.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Add the celery, onion and carrot to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until barely softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Wash the roasting pan and return the browned shanks to it. Pour the vegetable mixture over the shanks, cover with foil and roast for about 3 1/2 hours, or until the lamb is very tender. Lower the oven temperature to 200°. Carefully transfer the shanks to a baking dish and cover tightly with foil; keep warm in the oven.
- Strain the sauce into a medium saucepan. Skim off as much fat as possible. Boil the sauce over high heat until reduced to 4 cups, about 40 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer the shanks to a platter, pour the sauce on top and serve.
The lamb shanks can be refrigerated in the sauce for up to 2 days.
A serious Italian red will complement this herb-braised lamb. Look for Nebbiolo-based wines, with their herby scent and cleansing tannins.