Lamb Shanks with Butternut Squash
For those of you snow-bound, this is a rich and hearty dish, perfect for a cold winter day. For me it conjures up images of ski lodges and cabernet, it’s so warm and comforting. Flavorful lamb shanks are first browned and then braised in red wine, stock, and aromatics. Then they are combined with white beans and roasted butternut squash.
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 Lamb shanks (1 lb each)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cloves separated from an entire head of garlic, unpeeled
- 6 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 4 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 3 cups dry red wine
- 6 cups chicken stock (use gluten-free stock for gluten-free version)
- Two 1x3-inch strips of orange zest
- 3 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 1/3 cup cooked cannellini beans (about 1 15 ounce can, drained)
- 4 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 Brown the shanks on all sides: Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large thick-bottomed Dutch oven pot. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper, add them to the casserole and brown well on all sides, working in batches if necessary, about 8 minutes. Transfer the shanks to a plate.
2 Preheat the oven to 350°F and arrange two racks in the oven, one to hold the Dutch oven pot and one to hold a baking sheet with the squash.
3 Sauté celery, carrots, onion, unpeeled garlic, add tomato paste, add wine: Add the unpeeled garlic cloves, celery, carrots and onion to the pot. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until glossy, about 2 minutes. Add the wine; boil over high heat until the liquid is very syrupy, about 15 minutes.
4 Add shanks, stock, simmer until lamb is tender: Return the shanks to the pot and add the stock and orange zest. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and braise the shanks in the oven for about 2 to 3 hours, until the meat is very tender. Turn the shanks from time to time as they cook.
5 Roast butternut squash: While the shanks are cooking, roast the butternut squash. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven (along with the lamb) for about an hour, or until tender.
6 Make the gremolata: In a small bowl, mix the minced garlic with the parsley and lemon zest (the "gremolata"). Set aside.
7 Remove shanks from pot, strain vegetables from sauce: Remove the shanks from the oven and transfer to a plate. Pass the sauce through a coarse strainer, pressing hard on the vegetables. Discard the vegetable pulp. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce.
8 Combine sauce, shanks, squash, and beans: Return the sauce to the pot, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the lamb shanks and squash; simmer just until warmed through. Add the cannellini beans, cover and remove from heat. Let stand for a few minutes to allow for the flavors to blend.
Spoon the vegetables and sauce into large shallow bowls and set the lamb shanks on top. Garnish with the gremolata and serve.