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Irish Lamb Shank with Red Wine Sauce: A Hearty and Flavorful Dish

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Irish Lamb Shank with Red Wine Sauce is a classic dish that embodies the rich flavors and comforting warmth of Irish cuisine. This recipe features tender lamb shanks slowly braised until they are fall-off-the-bone tender, complemented by a robust red wine sauce infused with aromatic vegetables and herbs. Perfect for a cozy dinner at home or a special occasion, Irish Lamb Shank with Red Wine Sauce promises to delight with its depth of flavor and hearty appeal. Let’s explore how to prepare this delicious dish that celebrates the essence of Irish cooking.

Ingredients:

For the Lamb Shanks:

  • 4 lamb shanks, about 1 lb each
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cups red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot)
  • 2 cups beef or lamb broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, to balance acidity)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

For the Red Wine Sauce:

  • Reserved braising liquid from lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

1. Prepare the Lamb Shanks:

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  • Season the lamb shanks generously with salt and pepper.
  • In a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the lamb shanks in batches until browned on all sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the lamb shanks and set aside.

2. Prepare the Braising Liquid:

  • In the same pot, add chopped onions, minced garlic, diced carrots, and diced celery. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and caramelize slightly.
  • Stir in tomato paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes to deepen the flavor.
  • Deglaze the pot with red wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Add beef or lamb broth, bay leaves, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and sugar (if using). Stir to combine.

3. Braise the Lamb Shanks:

  • Return the seared lamb shanks to the pot, nestling them into the braising liquid. The liquid should come about halfway up the sides of the lamb shanks.
  • Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer it to the preheated oven.
  • Braise the lamb shanks in the oven for 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone.

4. Prepare the Red Wine Sauce:

  • Once the lamb shanks are cooked, carefully remove them from the pot and set aside, keeping them warm.
  • Skim off any excess fat from the surface of the braising liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan, pressing down on the solids to extract all the flavorful juices.
  • Bring the strained liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Whisk in unsalted butter until melted and incorporated into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve:

  • Arrange the braised lamb shanks on serving plates or a platter.
  • Spoon the red wine sauce over the lamb shanks, ensuring each shank is generously coated.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley for a pop of color and freshness.
  • Serve hot, accompanied by your choice of side dishes such as mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

Tips for Success:

  • Lamb Shank Selection: Choose lamb shanks with ample meat and marbling for the most tender and flavorful results.
  • Braising Time: Braising the lamb shanks low and slow ensures they become tender and develop deep flavors. Check for doneness by gently pulling meat away from the bone.
  • Red Wine Choice: Use a good quality red wine that you would enjoy drinking, as it contributes significantly to the flavor of the sauce.
  • Make-Ahead: This dish can be prepared a day ahead and reheated gently before serving to allow flavors to meld even more.

Variations:

  • Herb Infusion: Add fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary to the braising liquid for added aroma and flavor.
  • Vegetable Additions: Experiment with additional vegetables such as parsnips or mushrooms to complement the dish.
  • Garnish Options: Try garnishing with chopped mint or a sprinkle of lemon zest for a refreshing twist.

Conclusion:

Irish Lamb Shank with Red Wine Sauce is a dish that embodies the heartiness and warmth of Irish cuisine, featuring tender lamb shanks braised to perfection in a flavorful red wine sauce. Whether enjoyed for a holiday feast or a comforting family dinner, this dish promises to satisfy with its rich flavors and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Embrace the tradition of hearty Irish cooking with this delicious recipe and savor the comforting flavors of tender lamb and robust red wine sauce.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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