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Old 06-09-2009, 04:32 PM   #1
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The secret of great lamb

When I'm feeling especially lazy, and in need of a treat, I pick up boil-in-the-bag lamb-shanks from the local supermarket. The resulting fall-off-the-bone and dissolve-in-the-mouth lamb shanks and mint gravy are delicious.

I've tried replicating this in a casserole dish, but so far haven't come close.

Would anybody care to share a few tips for the perfect casserole lamb?

It doesn't have to be a mint gravy - it's more the tenderness and flavour of the lamb that I like (I use the gravy to make the veges taste good).

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Old 06-09-2009, 06:33 PM   #2
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Well this isn't with lamb shanks but it's an absolutely wonderful stew. The secret is the lemon, I think. It's a lovely spring stew, especially if you add the asparagus as I mention.

French Lamb Stew


3 lbs. Boneless leg or lamb shoulder cut in 1 1/2' cubes
4 Tb olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 TB. Flour
3 c. chicken broth
Juice of 2 lemons (start with 1 1/2 and add more to taste)
2 tsp. Marjoram
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Pepper
20 or so frozen pearl onions
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
(I use baby carrots just for eye appeal)
10-15 baby red potatoes cut in halves or quarters
Chopped parsley for garnish.

Optional - asparagus and/or green beans. I like to roast them and place them across the stew for serving. The green with the orange carrots makes a lovely Spring-like presentation.

Remove excess fat from lamb. In a Dutch oven, heat oil and lightly brown the lamb cubes. Remove lamb and set aside. Saute the onion and garlic until slightly translucent. Add flour, blend well and cook on simmer for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, marjoram, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Return lamb to pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add pearl onions and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Taste for seasonings. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook until done, 30 minutes or so. Ladle into deep bowls and add asparagus/green beans or sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Great with French bread for sopping, and a fruity salad of some kind.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:47 PM   #3
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brown raw lamb shanks in a pan or the oven. In a covered casserole or dutch oven, saute chopped onion and garlic, add tomato paste and brown slightly, add the lamb shanks, broth and white wine, salt and pepper, thyme, and braise in a 325-350* F oven. After 1st hour add carrots, parsnips, etc. Cook one more hour. May also be cooked with white beans.

very simple very delicious. serve with crusty bread and green veg or salad.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:49 PM   #4
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If you like Indian flavors you may like this dish. You can make this in a pressure cooker or in an oven. It has a ton of flavor.

Lamb Shanks - 4
2 cups of plain yogurt
3 large onions sliced and deep fried until they are caramalized. You can remove them from the oil and let them drain on a paper towel
1 small can of tomato sauce (6 oz)
1 small stick of cinnamon
3 cloves
2 cardamoms
1 tsp of whole black pepper
1 tbsp of whole cumin
1 tbsp of whole corrainder
3 dried red chilis (arabol) or 2 fresh green chilies
1/2 stick of fresh ginger
6 cloves of garlic
salt to taste

In a blender, add all the ingredients (except the lamb) and blend until it's a smooth paste. Pour over the lamb and let it marinate for several hours or overnight for best flavor.

In the morning, place the lamb in an oven proof dish, cover and let it cook on 350 degree farenhiet for an hour. Check to see if the lamb is done, if not let it cook for another 30 minutes.

Remove and pour in a wide bowl. Garnish with some boiled and sliced eggs, some fried potato wedges and lots of freshly chopped cilantro. Goes really well with roti, naan or just basmati rice.
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laury View Post
...it's an absolutely wonderful stew.
It sounds mouth wateringly wonderful. I think this is on the cards for Sunday's dinner, as I can pick up lamb from a local Farmer's market. Thanks Laury.

Do you use fresh or dried herbs?
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo410 View Post
brown raw lamb shanks in a pan or the oven...
Thanks Robo410. I never thought to brown the shanks in the oven, but this would be much easier than in a pan (due to the shape).

I assume you coat in flour first? Also, do you xfer the juices from the browning?
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Yakuta View Post
If you like Indian flavors...
Thanks Yakuta. I do indeed like Indian flavours, and this sounds like a fantastic recipe.

Even better, my Dad is especially partial to Indian cooking. I think he'd get a kick out of this in particular (it seems like fusion cooking, though I suppose it probably isn't).

I happen to live in a suburb of London with a large Indian population, so I'm surrounded by Indian supermarkets. I have easy access to everything needed to whip up a good curry, though I'm an amateur compared to Dad.

Now here's something I discovered a few years back, and is worth knowing if you're into spicy food. A glass of Gewurztraminer is transformed by a spicy curry. They won't tell you than in Alsace!
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Old 06-10-2009, 04:38 PM   #8
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I've used both fresh and dried marjoram, but always dried bay leaf. Fresh or dried, it's a great stew.
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:12 PM   #9
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lemon and garlic is my secret. i also have the butcher bone out the leg. i boil the bone and make a lemon gravy with the lamb stock.
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:03 AM   #10
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The secret is to emigrate to New Zealand.

The trend there now is to grill your own lamb, sliced paper-thin, on top of an oven-hot slab of stone at your table. I'm sure American liability laws will never permit such a thing. Anyway, my favorite is traditional - lamb in mint gravy in either a pot pie or a mimosa, and lamb shank or shoulder braised in red wine. For the latter, whether it's on a stove top, a slow or pressure cooker, or in an oven casserole, I think it's key to add veggies that hold their shape: pearl onions, roots, etc.

My bouquet garniere is a simple metal tea bag. Stuff your dried/fresh herbs/spices in it and immerse. Easy to remove.

Slow down, forget about it, celebrate with a lamb supp and wine.
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