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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Braised Lamb Shank with Thyme

I rarely cook lamb.  I love lamb, don't get me wrong.. But it's just so expensive that I'll only buy it on special occasions or when there's a good deal on it.  Today I saw 2 for 1 and grabbed the last ones before anyone else could spot them.  These were small shanks (souris) about 600g or 1.3lb each.
So upon returning home, I started going the ginger star anis and cinnamon way...but the asparagus told me it would pair easier with similar seasonings, so I completely changed my mind just as I was going to add the ginger into the cooker.  I ended up doing an instinct based freestyle and I'm very happy I did, for this meal made me feel like I was celebrating something special, even if that something was just the happiness of finding a good deal on some quality lamb!
Serves 2-4
2 lamb shanks
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp thyme
2 tsp fleur de sel
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp piment d'espelette
1 tbsp Maille moutarde à l'ancienne (or grainy mustard)
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lime
3 tbsp EVOO
Approximately 3 cups water
1.  Rub the fleur de sel and 1 Tbsp of the olive oil into the shanks and let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes.
2.  In a pressure cooker, heat the rest of the oil and color the shanks.  This should take about 5 minutes.  Add the lime juice, thyme, pepper, and piment d'espelette, then remove and set aside.
3.  In the lovely jus that has collected in the pressure cooker, sautee the white parts of the green onions until translucent, then add the carrots and garlic and cook a bit longer.
4.  Add the shanks back in with the mustard, tomato paste and water.  They should not be about halfway submerged.
5.  Close and cook under pressure for about 35 minutes.
6.  Carefully open the cooker and be amazed at the tenderness of the meat.  Sooo tender!  Stir in the balsamic vinegar.

At this point you have 2 choices.  Finish here, or use the liquid to make a sauce.
I did both.  For one meal I removed all the solids, had dinner, and while that was happening my juice was reducing into a wonderful sauce that I used for the next day's meal over pasta.

I served with some home fries and roasted asparagus.

1 shank is enough to feed 2 people, but I can easily imagine eating it all alone as well.
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