I have always said that lamb and duck are hands down my favorite proteins of all time, and because they are it of course means I don’t get to eat them too often. My wife isn’t too adventurous when it comes to eating foods that are a little different from the norm, and she especially won’t eat lamb or duck. However, when it’s holiday season I usually get to make just about whatever I want. For instance, I made smoked turkeys for Thanksgiving, which is definitely a little different than the norm, and the whole family was totally ok with it! In light of having some success with twisting things up for the holidays I figured I would whip up this Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe with Parmesan Risotto for the Easter holiday weekend. Now I’m not sure if my wife will dig it, but I am 100% confident that she’ll at least eat the risotto, which is a meal in itself.
Braising lamb shanks is actually really easy, it just requires some time, but it’s way quicker than braising most other meats like brisket or pork butt. Once you taste the rich flavor combos of the lamb and red wine beef broth it’s braising in, you’ll forget all about the fact that it took 3 hours to make it. Once you taste all of that goodness with the risotto you won’t care about anything at all, yes it’s that good! The first part of braising lamb is seasoning them and then searing them in a bit of olive oil until they are golden brown. The process of braising is caramelizing until roasted, not over cooked, and then finishing by simmering in a flavorful liquid. Once the lamb is browned on all sides you want to remove it and then add a bunch of vegetables into the pan that you roasted the lamb in. I’m a huge fan of not peeling my root vegetables simply because there is so much flavor and so many nutrients on the skin of vegetables. Instead of peeling them, I like to simply wash them really well and then slice them up. One my favorite kitchen gadgets to help me do this our Franke Roller Mat and Gooseneck Faucet with Hose Extender. The Roller Mat acts as a colander, among many other things, making it easy to wash vegetables right over of the sink. It’s honestly one of the coolest things in our kitchen and we use it daily! Once the veggies are washed and rinsed you then want to roast them up in that pan until they are caramelized. This part takes about 15 minutes to do it properly. Once browned add in some tomato paste to help give it some color and body followed up by deglazing with red wine. From there add the liquid, herbs, the browned lamb shanks, and a lid, and off to the oven it goes. I promise it’s that easy, just check out the video!
While the lamb is in the oven you’ll definitely have some time on your hands, so go hang out for 2 hours before returning to the kitchen to prepare the risotto. I grew up in a kitchen that made risotto every day, so it’s as serious as religion for me. You must always use an oversized pot to make it in and you must always use a wooden spoon while always continuing to stir in the exact same direction. Don’t you dare let me catch you stirring any other way :-). To me, the most important part of risotto is making sure you take the time to brown up and caramelize your onions. Preparing the onions this way will make for the most flavorful rich risotto ever, so be sure to give yourself an hour total to make the risotto. Once your onions are browned, add in the rice to toast it up a bit. You then deglaze with white wine followed up by adding in chicken stock a few ladles at a time until the rice absorbs all the liquid, all while continuing to stir. You repeat this process quite a few times until the rice is al dente, or slightly crunchy. Always finish off your risotto with some fresh grated parmesan cheese and cream to give the richest of flavors.
The last thing you want to do is plate everything by adding a lamb shank over a bed of risotto along with some of the jus from the braising pot. You can garnish with some fresh herbs, but I suggest not wasting too much time so you can eat this deliciousness ASAP! Happy cooking everyone!
Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe with Parmesan Risotto
For the Lamb:
- 4 lamb shanks
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 3 sliced carrots peelings on
- 2 sliced parsnips peelings on
- 1 sliced turnip peelings on
- 1 sliced yellow onion peelings on
- 4 sliced celery stalks
- 6 garlic cloves
- 12-15 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 1 small bunch of parsley
- 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 cups of red wine
- 32 ounces of beef stock
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
For the Risotto:
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 peeled and small diced yellow onion
- 2 cups of Arborio rice
- 2 cups of chardonnay
- 64 ounces of chicken stock
- 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 325°.
- Lamb: Season the lamb on all sides with salt and pepper and sear them until golden brown in a large pot with olive oil over high heat. Once brown remove them from the pot and set aside.
- Next, add all of the vegetables and herbs into the pot and caramelize, about 15 minutes.
- Add in the tomato paste and stir until combined and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes. Deglaze with red wine and cook until it becomes very thick and incorporated into the mixture.
- Add in the stock followed up by adding in the lamb shanks. Place a lid over the pot and cook in the oven at 325° for 3 hours. Remove them from the pot and strain the vegetables and serve with the remaining liquid.
- Risotto: Risotto: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot and add in the onions and caramelize, about 20 minutes.
- Next, add in the rice and toast for 2 to 3 minutes before deglazing with white wine.
- Stir the rice constantly until the rice has absorbed the wine and add in 8 ounces of chicken stock at a time while continuing to stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat the process until the risotto is al dente or slightly crunchy.
- Fold in the Parmesan cheese, whipping cream and season with salt and pepper until combined. Keep warm.
- Serve the lamb over a bed of risotto.