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I just love Chef Michael's easygoing style and wonderful range of flavors. Recently, the folks at Pintail asked the chef a few questions, and I'm so excited to be one of the blogs that was picked to share a question along with a wonderful recipe.
First the question and answer:
Q: Pick a favorite holiday ingredient and share why it's your favorite and a recipe you like to use it in.Amarone is a dry, red Italian wine that's known for its intense flavor. I have never tried it, but I plan to make the recipe Chef Michael is sharing with us. If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, then you know how often we eat lamb. In fact, I buy a whole grass-fed lamb (raised by friends) every year, making it our most-eaten meat.
A: Amarone for Amarone Braised Lamb Shanks. For as long as I've been a cook I've loved to braise. I love the transformation of a tough inexpensive piece of meat into tender cuisine. I love how patience is rewarded and the hearty rustic flavors emerge after careful cooking.
Anyway, enough blabbing. I know you want to check out Chef Michael's holiday recipe.
Amarone Braised Lamb Shanks
Lamb shanks are an essential part of any cook's repertoire. They're intensely flavorful and also inexpensive. They do need a long, slow braising to fully tenderize, but they'll reward your patience with a richly flavored meaty and memorable meal. I think of them as a special-occasion treat, which is why I find it so easy to pour an entire bottle of one of the world's great wines into the pot!
- 2 or 3 tablespoons (30 or 45 mL) of olive oil
- 4 large lamb shanks
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large sprigs of rosemary
- 1 can (5-1/2 ounces/156 mL) of tomato paste
- 1 bottle of Amarone or other big, flavorful red wine
- A sprinkle or two of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) of chopped fresh parsley
Splash the olive oil into a Dutch oven or your favorite soup pot and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the shanks and brown them thoroughly, turning once or twice until all the sides are golden brown and caramelized. Transfer the shanks to a plate.
Add the onions, carrots, and garlic to the pot and sauté until the vegetables soften and brown lightly, about 10 minutes. Toss in the bay leaves and rosemary, spoon in the tomato paste, and pour in the wine. Stir everything together, then nestle the lamb shanks into the works. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover tightly and transfer to your oven. Braise until the meat is tender, about 90 minutes.
Carefully transfer the shanks to a platter, cover them with foil, and keep them warm in the oven while you finish the sauce. Place the pot over medium-high heat and boil until the braising broth reduces to a sauce-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and pour the sauce over the lamb shanks. Serve and share!
Kitchen tips: (1) Lamb shanks are full of connective tissue that dissolves in the braising liquid during the cooking, giving the sauce a beautiful silky smooth texture. (2) Amarone is made from partially sun-dried grapes, so it has an intense raisin-like flavor that easily and extravagantly flavors the rich, hearty lamb shanks.
Buy Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen at an Indie or at bookstore near you. This link leads to an affiliate program
Published by Penguin USA / Pintail, 2012
Source: Review (see review policy)
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