Jeremy Silansky uses maple syrup, Vermont's most famous export, to glaze root vegetables, employing a novel (and simple) technique: He reduces the maple glaze in a small skillet, then tosses it with the roasted vegetables right before serving. He likes to serve the lamb shanks with creamy polenta made from local cornmeal and a local cheese: Thistle Hill Farm's complex, nutty Tarentaise.
More Lamb Recipes
Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper and brown them on 3 sides over moderately high heat, about 4 minutes per side. Add the garlic, carrots, celery and onion to the casserole. Add the red wine and boil for 3 minutes. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns. Cover the casserole tightly and transfer to the oven. Braise the lamb shanks, turning once, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until very tender.
Transfer the lamb shanks to an ovenproof serving dish. Using a fine sieve, strain the braising liquid into a medium saucepan, pressing on the solids. Boil the braising liquid over high heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and pour about 1/2 cup over the lamb shanks; keep the remaining sauce warm. Cover the lamb shanks with foil and reheat in the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve the lamb shanks with the remaining sauce, the Maple-Glazed Root Vegetables and the Braised Red Cabbage.
The braised lamb shanks can be refrigerated in their sauce overnight. Cover and reheat in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, or until warm.
The peppery spice of good California Syrah is a classic match for meaty lamb dishes like these wine-braised shanks.
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