We’ve got to an early start today, but truth is you don’t need half a day to do this, we just finished the first half of the process which is roasting the shanks before braising them later tonight, between now and tonight these shanks are resting. If you’d like to do this for regular dinner time you can start at 3 or 4pm. If it’s for a New Year’s eve late dinner you can begin at sundown. I’ve got my hands all over these pieces of meat. Mom is the captain and I’m first mate (aka sous chef) aboard our kitchen ship, and we’re preparing lamb shanks for braising tonight! First though we have to roast a little over 2 kilos of lamb shanks (4.5 lbs exactly) for about an hour. Total preparation plus cooking time takes about 2 and a half hours. There’s lots of love in slow cooking.
We begin by preheating the oven to 230° C and while that’s preheating we prepare the spice rub for the shanks. The combined spice rub you see above is made of the following ingredients.
We purposely made more of the spice rub than we needed (double the actual recipe), we only used a total of 4 teaspoons of the resulting powder once this is all mixed together, the extra we will store for future dishes or if additional seasoning is needed.
- 2 teaspoons ground all-spice
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Grind all of that together finely (you can use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder) then you massage 4 teaspoons of the spice rub all over the lamb shanks and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Finish by cutting deep slits in each shank to create pockets for the herbed butter.
HERBED BUTTER (mix all together with a spatula into a cold paste, then insert into slit pockets in shanks):
- 100 grams of cold butter
- 6 sprigs of rosemary, tear off the leaves and discard the stems
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- a pinch of dried ground sage (optional)
Once you’ve got the herbed butter done, insert into the shank pocket slits you cut into the lamb, insert and spread to be exact. It’s like a little yummy secret inside the shanks. Once each of the shanks are covered with the spice rub and filled with their share of herbed butter, pop them into the oven at 230°C and roast for 1 hour. When the roasting is done use the port wine from the next step to deglaze the pan and use for braising.
Now these roasted shanks are ready to be braised for later tonight.
BRAISING LIQUID (Once you’ve used the port wine to deglaze the roasting tray with the drippings combine that with the chicken stock then put in the shanks. Braise for 1.5 hours in the oven at 175° C in this liquid):
- 1 & 1/4 cup of port wine
- A quart and 1/2 cup of chicken stock
After 1.5 hours of braising, remove from the oven, rest the meat for 10 minutes, and turn the remaining braising liquid in the tray into gravy.
Sorry, there’s no photo of the actual braised finished product, it’s because that magic is still about to happen tonight! Hope you find this recipe interesting, I understand if it was posted too late for any of you to try it, but if not for New Year’s Eve why not make it your first New Year Dinner for Jan 1! Have a Happy New Year, everyone!