22 December 2012

Weekend Cooking: Guest Post & Recipe from Chef Michael Smith

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Do you remember last summer when I introduced your to the then-new Pintail imprint, which is part of Penguin USA? At that time I reviewed Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen and shared a wonderful appetizer recipe: Garlic-Rubbed Crostini with Mediterranean Tuna Salad.

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.

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.
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.

Anyway, enough blabbing. I know you want to check out Chef Michael's holiday recipe.

Amarone Braised Lamb Shanks

Serves 4
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
Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C).

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
ISBN-13: 9780670066919
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Tina 12/22/12, 7:17 AM  

Haven't seen this cookbook but I like the looks of the chef :-) He's rather dishy.
Lamb is always a fav here at our home. Have now ear marked the lamb shank recipe.

(Diane) bookchickdi 12/22/12, 7:50 AM  

That Michael Smith gets around, I have a guest post from him as well this week too. But seriously, I really like his cookbook, I have post-it notes sticking out all over from recipes I want to try and his Buffalo Chicken Salad is a family favorite.

Beth S. 12/22/12, 8:06 AM  

I need to get myself a copy of this cookbook ASAP!

bermudaonion 12/22/12, 8:06 AM  

I really do need to check out his cookbook!

Janel Gradowski 12/22/12, 8:42 AM  

While I love lamb, I've only tried to cook it myself once. This recipe sounds like a good recipe to try while the family is home for the holidays.

Joy Weese Moll 12/22/12, 9:00 AM  

That's so cool that he came up with a lamb recipe for you!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 12/22/12, 10:19 AM  

Oh my! I've not only never eaten lamb shanks, but I've only eaten lamb once, so this is almost entirely new to me. It sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing.

Gilion at Rose City Reader 12/22/12, 1:41 PM  

My husband loves lamb shanks, so I am pinning this recipe. And I'll remember it because the chef is such a cutie!

Carole 12/22/12, 1:58 PM  

Happy happy holidays!

Heather 12/22/12, 2:39 PM  

even my father used to watch Michael Smith and his cooking show. We love him. This recipe is so tempting, I'\m going to have to give it a try. Thanks.

SuziQoregon 12/22/12, 5:21 PM  

This sounds absolutely wonderful. I need to see if my library has this cookbook. I like 'test driving' cookbooks from the library before I buy them.

Linda 12/22/12, 7:39 PM  

I love a good lamb recipe. I'm saving this one for later.

Tanya Patrice 12/22/12, 11:52 PM  

I don't cook lamb often, so I'm saving this recipe to try when I do. Sounds delish!

Julie P. 12/23/12, 8:26 AM  

I'm not familiar with that type of wine, but we aren't big on braised meats anyway.

Heather Webb 12/23/12, 8:55 AM  

This recipe looks simple and amazing. I think I might fire it up for New Year's. :) Happy holidays!

Vasilly 12/23/12, 8:52 PM  

That lamb looks so good! I need to try this recipe. :-)

Angela 12/24/12, 12:02 AM  

What a terrifically informative post! Thank you so much for sharing :)

Merry Christmas!

Daryl 12/26/12, 4:35 PM  

if i ate meat i am sure i would love this

Julie P. 12/29/12, 9:07 AM  

So need to take a look at this cookbook!!!

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