Yid.Dish: Wine Braised Lamb Shanks with Orange and Figs

By Leah Koenig

Published June 30, 2005.
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Serves 6

6 small lamb shanks, 10-12 ounces each

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup dry white wine (organic and kosher for Passover)

5 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole

12 large shallots, peeled and left whole, roots trimmed

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

Juice of 1 orange

1 1/2 cup water or chicken stock

3 tablespoons honey

14-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juice

12 dried figs

2, 4 inch branches fresh rosemary

3, 2-inch strips of orange peel

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Chopped parsley or scallion for garnish

1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

2) Season the shanks all over with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan. Add as many shanks as will fit comfortably and brown over medium heat. This will take 15-20 minutes. Reduce the heat if the shanks are browning too quickly. Repeat with the remaining shanks. Transfer the shanks to a roasting pan large enough to accommodate them comfortably in a single layer. Deglaze the pan with half of the wine, scraping the browned bits off the bottom and pouring the juices over the lamb.

3) Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the sauté pan. Add the garlic, shallots, carrots and ginger and sauté 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the remaining wine. Scrape the vegetables and their juices into the roasting pan with the lamb shanks.

4) Add the orange juice, water or stock, honey, tomatoes with their juice and peppercorns to the roasting pan. The shanks should be almost covered with liquid, if not add a little water.

5) Tuck the figs, rosemary sprigs and orange strips between the shanks.

6) Place the roasting pan over high heat and bring to a simmer. Cover the roasting pan and cook in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is very tender.

7) Remove the shanks, shallots and figs from the liquid to a warm platter, cover with foil to keep warm.

8) Place a sieve over a clean saucepan. Strain the braising liquid into the saucepan pressing down on the vegetables and herbs to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the vegetables and herbs.

9) Place the saucepan over high heat and reduce the sauce until thickened so that it coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Spoon some of the sauce over the lamb and serve the remaining on the side. Sprinkle the lamb with chopped parsley and serve.


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