Finally Found Some Lamb Shanks to Cook.
Unfortunately, the only way I could find lamb shanks were to buy them while still attached to the entire animal. I know, I know. Darling, soft, fuzzy lambs should not be eaten.
But we love lamb. I’m sorry, we just do. And buying it in plastic-wrapped packages at Costco doesn’t change the fact that it used to be a cute, fuzzy lamb.
Honestly, I find it so weird when people I talk to drop their mouths in HORROR that we bought a whole lamb — from a farm down the road, no less!
I say to them, “You don’t like lamb?” (It’s true that sometimes they don’t, but many, many of them DO eat lamb — from the store.)
“How can you do that,” they ask?
Seriously? As if the chops at CostCo didn’t come from a real and formerly-living lamb somewhere?
“It’s the idea of it,” they say. “You drive by those lambs every day. How can you eat them?!”
Well for crying out loud, get over it! If you are going to be a carnivore, or an omnivore, for crype sake, be honest about it. You are eating meat. It came from an animal! Deal with it. And if you can’t deal with it, become a vegetarian. That, I can respect.
At least I know this lamb lived a wonderful life in a green pasture, running around happily. It was killed humanely at a local butcher shop and packaged for me the way I asked. I actually feel pretty good about the whole thing. Put that into your styrofoam pipe and smoke it!
On with the meal:
Charlie helped me with this and told Dave later, “I could easily make these again.” And he’s right: it was ridiculously easy. And so, so very good. Baaah!
You braise the shanks in tablespoon or two of oil.
Then remove to a pan and add a chopped onion, 5 cloves minced garlic, 3 stalks of diced celery and 2 diced carrots (I would cut the veggies smaller next time). Add the shanks back in and add 1 can chicken broth, 1/2 cup of water, one 14oz can of diced tomatoes and juice (I also used garden tomato juice from freezer), 2 sprigs rosemary, 3 sprigs thyme and 1T whole peppercorns.
Bring to a boil then cover and put in a 325 degree oven for about 3 hours.
About 20 minutes before eating, make the polenta. I can never seem to find the ‘real’ thing and keep accidentally buying ‘instant polenta.’ This recipe worked quite well with the instant kind, keeping it nice and soft. The best we have tried, really. I credit the milk. I think I usually only make it with water or broth.
Soft & Creamy Polenta
Over low heat, saute small diced onion and 3 cloves of garlic in about 2T olive oil. Then add 2 cups of chicken broth (I used one can and diluted with water to make 2 cups) and 2 cups of milk with 1 tsp of salt and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer. Whisking constantly in one direction, slowly add 1 cup of polenta. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir often over low heat for about 20 minutes. Add more water if polenta gets too thick.
Right before serving, add 1T butter, 1/4c shredded parmesan or pecorino (the poor man’s parmesan!), 3T chopped sage (thyme may be substituted) and lots of cracked pepper. Serve topped with shanks and sauce.
Of course I forgot to take a picture. I’m such a boob.