Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans
This easy, comforting and delicious recipe for bistro-style lamb shanks is based on a shared recipe I received from John Overholt, an Internet friend in England. Out of necessity, I made a few changes to his original recipe, which is in the similar and related recipes links. There are some ingredients in his recipe that are difficult to find where I live, and you might have the same problem. Whichever recipe you use, it makes a perfect dish for a family dinner or a special occasion.
- 12 ounces dried beans, such as navy or great northern
- 4 lamb shanks
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or 1 tablespoon dried
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) whole tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) low-sodium lamb or beef stock
- 3/4 cup light red wine
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Place the beans in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let set for about 1 hour. Drain.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325° F. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in an oven-proof sauté pan, large enough to hold the shanks in one layer, over medium-high heat. Add the shanks and brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the same pan over medium heat until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the stock, wine and 1-1/2 cups water to the pan; deglaze, getting up all the browned bits. Return the shanks to the pan and add the drained beans. Add the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, parsley and pepper. Do not add salt at this point. Cover casserole tightly and cook in oven for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until the beans are tender. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and salt to taste. Cover and cook an additional 1-1/2 hours.
Using a hand blender, puree some of the beans, vegetables and liquid in the pan (or put several ladles of the mixture into a blender or processor). Stir to combine. Garnish with parsley. Serve one lamb shank and a portion of the beans and sauce to each person.