Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Beer-Braised Lamb Shanks – Springing Forward with Lamb and Beer

We’re in one of those in between times of the year, when you start to see Spring ingredients and recipes, which are always a welcomed sight, yet the weather may still be cold and dreary, which is why these beer-braised lamb shanks work so well.

Lamb is a classic springtime meat, and by using the shanks, we not only get a great seasonal meal, but an extremely comforting one at that. Of all the cuts, the shank has the most connective tissue, and as long as you cook it enough, you’ll be rewarded with tender, succulent meat that warms you from the inside out.

However, if you don’t braise it long enough, the meat will be tough, rubbery, and borderline inedible, which means you’ll have to get online, and give that recipe a terrible review for not working. Okay, just kidding. What you really want to do is not stop cooking until it’s completely tender. Above and beyond how long to braise, try to use a deep pan that’s just large enough to fit however many shanks you’re doing in a single layer. A tight-fitting lid is also highly recommended.

As far as the beer goes, I used a cheap, unremarkable lager, which came in a 24-ounce can (which explains the measuring cup), and it worked wonderfully. If you’re feeling experimental, something like an amber ale would also be great, as would a fruity sour (which would make it a lamb-bic). The only thing I’d avoid would be something that’s super hoppy, as the bitterness may overwhelm the other flavors. Regardless of what beer you decide to use, I really do hope you get this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 Portions:
2 lamb shanks (ask butcher for the smaller fore shanks)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large rib celery, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 large carrot, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons tomato paste
12 ounces not-too-hoppy beer
2 springs rosemary
pinch cayenne
sliced green onions, optional

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