Braised and Grilled Lamb Shanks

Ingredients

By Mark Bittman, award-winning author and columnist for the New York Times

Yield: 4 servings
Total time: At least 2 1/2 hours

  • 4 lamb shanks, each about 1 pound
  • 1 cup Port or red wine
  • 8 cloves garlic (don't bother to peel them)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar or lemon juice, or to taste

1. Combine the lamb shanks, Port or wine, and garlic in a skillet just large enough to hold the shanks. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil; cover and turn the heat so that the mixture simmers gently. Cook, turning about every 30 minutes, until the shanks are tender and a lovely mahogany color, at least 2 hours and more likely longer.

2. Remove the shanks and strain the sauce. If time allows, refrigerate both, separately; skim the fat from the top of the sauce. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill or the broiler; the rack should be 4 to 6 inches from the heat source, and the fire hot.

3. Grill or broil the shanks until nicely browned all over, sprinkling them with salt and pepper and turning as necessary; total cooking time will be about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, reheat the sauce gently; season it with salt and pepper, then add the vinegar or lemon juice. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Serve the shanks with the sauce.

Variation: Anise-flavored Lamb Shanks (or Short Ribs)
Braise the meat in a mixture of 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 cup water, 5 thin slices of ginger, 5 whole star anise, 4 cloves garlic, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Proceed as above, finishing the sauce with rice or white wine vinegar.

Instructions

Categories: 
Main Dishes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
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  • Is the ability to cook what made us human?

    Richard Wrangham, a professor at Harvard University and author of Catching Fire, studies the role of cooking in human evolution. "Once you start thinking about the importance of cooking -- its supply of energy, its strange distribution compared to natural foods -- it's bound to have affected our evolution hugely, our behavior, our society, our cognition, all sorts of features about us," he says.

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