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A few weekends ago I went up to Cleveland for my grandma and grandpa’s 60th wedding anniversary. How freaking amazing is that? They have a great relationship – it’s one of those marriages that people envy. We had some delicious Spanish inspired food at a restaurant in downtown Cleveland – and afterwards my brother, Lindsey, took me to a middle eastern market in the middle of the ghetto. Seriously. He finds and knows of the weirdest/best/funkiest places in all of Cleveland. If you ever have a question about anything Cleveland – he’s your guy. He took me to this store and they had a large variety of homemade goods, as well as a butcher section. While there I bought 2 packages of lamb shanks for $3.99 a pound. That is such a good deal I can’t even tell you. I also bought homemade hummus, baba ganoush,  tabouli, zatar pizzas, and some other kind of beef flatbread…maybe lahmucan – but I’m not sure.

Ok – so lamb shanks are one of those dishes that you see on cooking channel or something and think, geez, that seems fancy. Truth is – they couldn’t be easier to cook. And they couldn’t be more delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need: lamb shanks, onions, carrots, celery, beef broth, olive oil, bay leaf, garlic powder, rosemary, and salt and pepper.

I need a second to brag…you see that rosemary? Yeah, that’s from my little baby garden. How cute?! I feel like Ina Garten…she is my favorite all time tv chef (followed closely by Nigella) and she has the most amazing herb garden. And she is always telling people to use fresh herbs, preferably from your own garden. It’s so pretentious but now I can say that too. Ha. I’m so fancy with my baby herb garden!

Ok – here’s what you’ll need to do. In a large dutch oven, heat up 2 t. olive oil. Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper on both sides. Working in batches of 2 lamb shanks at a time, brown those little babies. Warning: use an overhead fan if you have one. The oil smokes. To prevent smoking, you could use canola oil.

The browning will take about 3 minutes per side – remove the first batch from the pan and add in the remaining shanks. While the lamb is browning, it’s time to chop up the veggies. Chop up 2 onions, 2 carrots, and 2 celery stalks. Chop into ¼” pieces – this is a pretty amazing recipe b/c the size of veggies don’t really matter b/c everything gets blended in the end to make an awesome gravy.

Remove the final lamb shanks from the dutch oven and add in all of the chopped veggies. Sprinkle over ½ t. salt and ½ t. pepper and cook veggies until half way cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.

Side note: just want to note the importance of seasoning each layer of your food with salt and pepper. This helps immensely with the final product – the salt and pepper bring out the deep flavors of the food – versus if you add salt at the end…then all you’ll taste is salt.

Once veggies are at a good place, add in 4 cups of beef broth and 2 whole sprigs of rosemary, 2 bay leaves, and 1 t. of garlic powder. Snuggle the lamb shanks into the beef broth and veggie mixture – will be a little snug but you can make it work. If some parts aren’t completely submerged under the broth that’s ok.

Place dutch oven into a 350 degree oven, and bake for 2 hours. That’s it. Just throw that bad boy in the oven and forget about it. Now…I should note, I realize I am making a stew in August – but I can’t help myself. That’s just how I roll.

After two hours remove from oven – being very careful to not touch the pot – lesson learned (yet again) there. Ugh.

Ok – remove the lamb shanks from the pot, the stems from the rosemary, and the bay leaves – discard stems and bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables and beef broth together to make a delicious gravy.

If the gravy seems too thin, you can add it to the burner and cook for 5-10 minutes until it reaches a desired consistency. Mine was perfect as is.

Add the lamb shanks back into the pan and serve over polenta or mashed potatoes. I served it with polenta this time.

The meat falls off the bone, no need for a knife, and the gravy is to die for. With hints of rosemary and richness from the lamb and broth – it’s definitely a keeper. It’s a great meal to make on a lazy Sunday at home or for entertaining. It looks pretty fancy.

Enjoy!

Lamb Shanks with Rosemary Gravy
Serves 4
Click here for recipe.

Ingredients:
4 lamb shanks
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 t. salt, divided
2 t. pepper, divided
4 cups beef broth
2 onions
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 t. olive oil
1 t. garlic powder
2 bay leaves

Directions:

  1. In a large dutch oven, heat up 2 t. olive oil. Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper on both sides. Working in batches of 2 lamb shanks at a time, brown them on both sides. Warning: use an overhead fan if you have one. The oil smokes. To prevent smoking, you could use canola oil. The browning will take about 3 minutes per side – remove the first batch from the pan and add in the remaining shanks.
  2. While the lamb is browning, it’s time to chop up the veggies. Chop up 2 onions, 2 carrots, and 2 celery stalks. Chop into ¼” pieces – this is a pretty amazing recipe b/c the size of veggies don’t really matter b/c everything gets blended in the end to make an awesome gravy.
  3. Remove the final lamb shanks from the dutch oven and add in all of the chopped veggies. Sprinkle over ½ t. salt and ½ t. pepper and cook veggies until half way cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Once veggies are at a good place, add in 4 cups of beef broth and 2 whole sprigs of rosemary, 2 bay leaves, and 1 t. of garlic powder. Snuggle the lamb shanks into the beef broth and veggie mixture – will be a little snug but you can make it work. If some parts aren’t completely submerged under the broth that’s ok.
  5. Place dutch oven into a 350 degree oven, and bake for 2 hours.
  6. After two hours remove from oven –remove the lamb shanks from the pot, the stems from the rosemary, and the bay leaves – discard stems and bay leaves.
  7. Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables and beef broth together to make a delicious gravy.
  8. If the gravy seems too thin, you can add it to the burner and cook for 5-10 minutes until it reaches a desired consistency. Mine was perfect as is.
  9. Add the lamb shanks back into the pan and serve over polenta or mashed potatoes.

Enjoy!

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