I've been urging myself, all this cold and rainy winter, to finally braise the lamb shank (and there's another one left to cook, in the freezer).
So what do we get but a string of the most lovely, sunny days (thank you, La Niña). Oddly, it thawed me out of my torpor, and we got a couple of pots a'simmerin' on the stovetop last week. Beans in one pot, lamb in the other.
I'm kinda sassy about not using a recipe for braised shanks. I know how it goes. But this time I wanted to break with one of the stalwarts of my method. I didn't want to use tomatoes.
It's so sunny out! It's like spring! I wanted springy, lamby flavors, and that meant lemon and herbs. (You can't see a lot of herbs because I put most of them in an infusion ball, in with the lamb liquid.)
Cranky set about mincing the most beautiful mirepoix I have ever seen; Gordon Ramsay would not shove this plate into his chest.
I browned the shank in a little oil. Really good brown, this time, because it's one of my new favorite flavors. Removed it just in time for the onion-carrot-celery pile (Cranky is fast) flavored with a length of minced green garlic. (Spring!) Salt, stir, soften.
Lamb back in the pot, then unceremonious dumpages of beer, about midway up the hunk of meat. Pepper. Lemon rind and juice (the tree is fruitful).
Then, lid on and wait.
At last (after a few hours), we pulled the meat off the bones and fat, and stirred the lamby shreds back in with the juice.
Without the tomatoes, the sauce was a little thin, but we loved how it moistened the tender beans on the plate. And with the lemon, I wouldn't have wanted the sweet flavor of summer's vines anyway.
I call it a dish worthy of a spring Taurus. Except I might be an Aries now. Still... spring.
I know. Winter will be back.
*one of these days