One Pot Roast Away From Happy...

Summer may not be the season you may associate with lamb roasts. But there are two great reasons you should make them now. 

1. It's a one pot meal, which, means more time with your wine bottle, feet up.

2. This is high time for the meat as well as the herbs and produce. So everything tastes amazing with little work!

When in doubt, and faced with industrial choices, pick beef or lamb.

Lamb shanks are one of my favorite cuts of meat! While everyone is ooh and aah-ing about the chops at the meat shop, I quietly slip to the corner where these gorgeous chunks of meat sit looking plump and inviting to eyes of certain beholders like me. Mind you, I am not complaining. The misplaced lack of public demand for the more interesting cut of the lamb or goat, makes them amazing value. You can feed a family in a fraction (I mean like 25% or less!!!) of what it would cost you with the prized cuts. 

Anyway, these days I crave red meat and eat it a few times a week. And, although I have not taken actual tests (happening soon, so will update in a few days on the certified results) but I feel a lot healthier and sleep better. Go {Red} Meat!

Btw, here is a thumb rule, I tell people who are somewhat concerned about the issues of the meat industry but not fully vested in it because of the cost of making a different choice. When in doubt, and faced with industrial choices, pick beef or lamb. The size of these animals naturally deters the type of large scale, cooped up 'husbandry' that most industrial chickens and pigs are subjected to.

That's all I want to say today ... And, reiterate, enjoy Summer and don't let those shanks fool you! They have some of the best bits of flavor. If you are skeptical google it up - working muscles, enzyme releases, awesome flavor. Go on...!

And, if you are wondering, why on Earth, I paired white wine with this dish, I am just proving a point. It is a rather light dish and a crisp, dry white actually works beautifully to cut through the rich flavor of the meat. Very more-ish on both. Be careful! :)

Also, please, please do not throw away the shank bones. They make a fantastic broth! Just chuck it into the bowl when you make this!


Minty meditteranean Lamb Shank Roast

with roast vegetables - parsnip, carrots, potatoes and peppers

This recipe takes 3 hours in all but you can make ahead parts of it and total active time is only about 15-20 minutes depending on your prep skills!

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2 lamb shanks

1 large onion

4 medium potatoes

2 parsnips, diced

3 carrots, diced

1 or 2 red bell pepper

2 tomatoes

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp harissa

1 tsp all spice

2 cups stock

For the marinade:

1/4 cup mint leaves

2 T capers

5 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 T harissa

2 tsp ground cumin

salt, pepper and olive oil as needed

Score the lamb shanks with deep cuts. Season with salt and pepper

Add all the ingredients of the marinade and chop together to make a coarse marinade. Rub the spice mix, all over the lamb shanks and let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes. Or you can do this bit ahead of time and refrigerate up to 2 days. Ideally, you do this overnight.

While the shanks rest or when ready to prep, diced the onion and garlic finely and the rest of the vegetable into one inch diced cubes. 

Preheat oven to 300F.

When ready to cook, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron or other dutch oven. Place the lamb shanks in the hot pan and brown on all sides.

Pile the onion and garlic into the pan and saute till soft. Add the spices and cook until not raw.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except the pepper, and bring it to a quiet boil.

Put the lid on and transfer to the oven. Leave it be for 2 hours.

At the end of the 2 hours, check the lamb. It should already be tender and falling apart.

If there is enough liquid let it roast uncovered for 30 more minutes. Add liquid if it looks a bit dry. Also, throw in the reserved peppers.

Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Shred the meat from the bones {reserve the bones} and toss with the vegetables.

This is a meal in of itself and you do not really need more carbs but also great served with polenta or pasta!