In an effort to move out of my comfort zone, I am trying to experiment with new protein sources. This particular recipe was derived for my friend Lana, the founder of EOM-Ethical Omnivore Movement and it’s sister page Mindful Meat Mondays. It’s important to me that my kids have the opportunity to try a wide variety of foods and to have the adventurous spirit to enjoy the experience of stepping outside of our normal routine. In addition, there are tremendous nutritious advantages to varying our diets.
One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing parents say that “my kids would never eat that” or “my kid(s) are such picky eaters”. The reason this bugs me so much is that in my experience, kids are pretty willing to try new things IF the underlying adult message is positive. In other words, our kids attitudes are a reflection of the cues they get from us, and trust me, they pick up on things you THINK you have hidden well.
I’ll be honest, I’ve eaten lamb before, but never cooked it and this was pretty intimidating. I started this experiment by seeking out a humanely raised and pastured lamb. In my neck of the woods, that’s not an easy thing to come by. Ultimately, my butcher, I found out, orders them from New Zealand. In looking at cuts of lamb, the shank was one of the less expensive cuts that afforded a significant amount of meat. 4 Lamb shanks fed my family of 5 perfectly.
For as concerned as I was about the difficulty of preparing lamb well, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not only delicious, but SIMPLE!
So, first… what’s a lamb “Shank”? It’s the shin essentially. In researching ways of preparing lamb shank, I learned that the best way to prepare it is slow cooking – whether it’s braising, slow-cooking, or roasting at a low and steady heat. This was a great preparation style as it required very little coddling from me, I could leave it alone and let it do it’s thing.
PREP: 5 – 10 min.
COOKING TIME: 3 – 3.5 hours
What do you need:
4 Lamb Shanks (approx 14-18 oz ea)
whole garlic cloves
1 medium onion
a glass baking dish
Pan drippings (include 1-2 cloves of garlic left over from the pan)
1 TBS of arrowroot powder
1 Cup of bone broth
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
The first thing I did was put the 4 shanks in my glass baking dish, drizzled them with EVOO and roll them around in it to coat, I salted and peppered both sides of each shank and placed the glass dish in the oven at 450 degrees fahrenheit for 20 minutes to brown.
After 20 minutes, I reduced the heat to 325, and removed the lamb shanks. To the baking dish, I added 10 whole cloves of garlic that had simply been halved, and one medium onion that had been cut into large chunks. I used dried rosemary, simply because I didn’t have fresh on hand – but either season with dried rosemary, or add 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary to the baking dish.
Before returning the dish to the oven, cover it tightly with tin foil, making sure to avoid any gaps. This will keep the heat contained, allow the meat to cook evenly, and keep all those lovely flavors packed tightly inside!
Return the lamb to the oven at 325 degrees for 2 and a half hours. I then shut the heat off and allowed the lamb to rest inside of the oven for another 30-45 minutes before opening and serving.
The meat was perfectly tender and falling off the bone. This experiment was definitely a success in expanding my kids protein palate! I served this with smashed cauliflower and I made a quick gravy using the pan drippings, one or two of the roasted garlic cloves from the pan, one cup of bone broth (I used poultry broth) and one Tablespoon of arrowroot powder. I think brussel sprouts would have also made a great accompaniment.
I used rosemary, as it’s a favorite herb of mine, but another great pairing would be sage leaves, possibly even fresh oregano. Most importantly, don’t be intimidated by stepping outside of your comfort zone. This was fun, simple and will definitely become a household favorite around here!