Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lamb Shank with Wine Jus, Gremolata and White Bean Puree

When Ed and I are in Denver, usually a couple of times a year, we tend to eat at 240 Union .  While we generally have a good meal at a reasonable price, occasionally something is really good. Several years ago it was a mushroom salad which I tried to capture in Mushroom - Arugula Salad. Unfortunately this item has been missing from the menu on all subsequently visits.  Most recently, Ed and I both found  "Colorado Lamb Shank –wood oven braised, Chianti jus, gremolata" to be particularly good, good enough for me to try to recreate this dish at home.  What the menu description does not mention is that the lamb shank is served with pureed white beans and sauteed beet greens, vegetables which well compliment the meat and make for a delicious meal. When I made this recently, however, I did not have a source of beet greens and while I could have done spinach I decided on a green salad.  Anticipating this as a guest meal and wanting to focus on guests rather than my stove, I determined that this meal can be made ahead almost to finish (see next to last photo), leaving time for a shower, a change of clothes and a glass of wine with guests before a quick exit to the kitchen to do the final assembly. Gremolata can be made way ahead. Wine can be reduced  to 1/4, then later warmed, removed from heat and  butter added at the last minute. Bean puree can also be made ahead and microwaved to warm before serving, and lamb shanks can be kept simmering until ready to serve.  

Serves 2, scale accordingly.


On a gas grill sear until browned on all sides

2 lamb shanks

(A gas grill is a quick and clean way to brown the shanks, but this is not worth building a charcoal fire. Searing can also be done on a stove top or in the oven; see Lamb Shanks with Fig Sauce)

In a large pot saute:

1 T olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

When garlic is soft, add browned lamb to the pot, then

1/2 c red wine

When wine has slightly evaporated add

Water to almost cover lamb
IF serving with white bean puree, add  2-3 whole unpeeled garlic cloves to pot.

Cover and turn the heat to low.  Cook for at least an hour and thirty minutes, turning the shanks every half hour and  adding more water if liquids run low, until the meat is very tender - nearly falling off the bone.  Avoiding or spooning away the accumulated fat, remove lamb from liquid and place on a platter to drain/dry off any excess cooking liquid.

WHILE LAMB IS COOKING MAKE GREMOLATA, WHITE BEAN PUREE, WINE JUS




GREMOLATA


Combine:


1/4 c finely chopped parsley

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 t lemon zest, finely chopped
1 sprig of mint, finely chopped (optional)
WHITE BEAN PUREE

In a medium sauce pan heat:


1 T olive oil


2 cloves garlic, cooked in lamb broth, removed from skin

Add the following and simmer until liquid is reduced by approximately half, about 5 minutes:
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained but not dry
3/8 c chicken stock
1 T lemon juice

Put bean mixture in a food processor or, my choice, use an immersion blender, and blend until smooth. Add more chicken stock if necessary to achieve a smooth consistency. If this puree is made well before lamb is ready to be served, it should be warmed in the microwave before serving.

WINE SAUCE

Boil in small saucepan, until reduced to 1/4 c, about 10 - 15 minutes

1 c red wine

Remove from heat and add

1 T cold cut-up butter
Swirl pan until butter is melted and sauce is thickened


WHILE LAMB IS DRAINING ON PLATTER SAUTE THE BEET GREENS

ASSEMBLE DISH


Divide the warm bean mixture, the sauteed greens and the lamb shanks between 2 plates or large pasta/soup bowls.  Pour the wine sauce over each of the two lamb shanks. Put a generous tablespoon of gremolata on top of each lamb shank.  Serve immediately.

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