These days when I step outside, I just want to turn around and go back into the house. Sacramento makes up for its blazingly hot summers with foggy, gloomy, dark, dismal, chilly winters, perfect weather, come to think of it, for hearty lamb stews such as this one.
Root vegetables rule the season, sweet carrots and parsnips, turnips, and the happily named rutabaga. (Rutabaga. Rutabaga. Sounds like it could be the name of a Latin dance, doesn't it?) This stew is loaded with flavor.
Don't forget the gremolata (parsley, lemon zest, garlic garnish which I forgot to photograph in the stew); it gives the stew a great zip. For those of you lamb-non-eaters, if you try it with beef (use chuck), let us know how it goes. I imagine it will be just as good.
What Is Gremolata?
Gremolata is an Italian dressing or condiment. A mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, it's versatile and used to punch up the flavor in a variety of vegetable, pasta, fish, and meat dishes.
A Reader’s Variation on This Lamb Stew
Commenter James shared that he follows the recipe to the letter, with one minor exception. At the end of braising the shanks, rather than simply pressing and discarding the vegetable pulp, he adds the pulp back into the sauce. Then he purees it with an immersion blender until it's smooth. This naturally thickens the sauce and intensifies the flavor.
More Lamb Stew Recipes You’ll Love
Lamb Shank Stew with Root Vegetables
For the lamb stew
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds lamb shanks, each cut into a couple pieces by a butcher, if possible
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
4 carrots (2 coarsely chopped, 2 cut into 2-inch segments and quartered lengthwise)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups chicken stock
2 (1 x 3-inch) strips orange zest
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and roughly chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium turnip, peeled and roughly sliced or chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces
For the gremolata
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Brown the lamb shanks:
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven on medium high heat.
Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper, add them to the casserole and brown well on all sides, working in batches if necessary. Transfer the shanks to a plate.
Add the garlic, celery, carrots, and onion:
Add the unpeeled garlic cloves, celery, chopped carrots (half of your carrots, the other half are cut lengthwise to be used later in the recipe) and onion to the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Add tomato paste and wine:
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the wine; boil over high heat until the liquid is very syrupy, about 5 minutes.
Return the shanks to pan and add stock:
Return the shanks to the pot and add the stock and orange zest. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and braise the shank for 3 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone tender; turn the shanks from time to time as they cook.
Preheat the oven and roast root vegetables:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Put the turnips rutabagas, parsnips, and lengthwise-cut carrots in a large baking pan and toss with enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven, stirring occasionally, for about an hour, or until tender.
Make the gremolata:
In a small bowl, mix the minced garlic with the parsley and lemon zest (the "gremolata"). Set aside.
Strain the sauce:
Remove the shanks from the pot 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.
Combine the sauce, lamb meat, and vegetables:
Return the sauce to the pan, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Separate the lamb meat from the bones. Add the lamb meat and roasted vegetables; simmer just until warmed through.
Garnish with the gremolata and serve.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 55g||71%|
|Saturated Fat 21g||104%|
|Total Carbohydrate 46g||17%|
|Dietary Fiber 10g||35%|
|Total Sugars 20g|
|Vitamin C 60mg||298%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|