Adapted from a recipe in From the Earth to the Table by John Ash.
* denotes ingredients currently available at the farmers’ market
4 cracked Elihu Farm lamb shanks*
Flour for dredging the shanks
Olive oil for sautéing
2 cups chopped (½”) yellow onions*
2 chopped (½”) sweet red peppers, chopped
3 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1 cup diced celery (optional)
1 cup sliced carrots (optional)*
½-1 tsp chopped hot pepper, or ¼ – ½ tsp dried Arbol pepper flakes*
2 tbsp chopped garlic*
2 cups lamb or chicken stock (homemade if possible)
1 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup Kalamata or other black olives (not canned), pits removed, sliced or whole
1 tbsp fennel seed
½ tbsp minced fresh oregano*, or ½ tsp dried
¾ tsp minced fresh thyme*, or 1/3 tsp dried
Shortly before serving, make the gremolata, a garnish essential to the success of this dish. Combine equal quantities (such as 2 tsp) of grated lemon zest, minced fresh parsley*, and minced garlic*.
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. While the oven is heating, dredge the lamb shanks in flour, then sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
2) In a large casserole or Dutch oven, sauté until lightly browned the onions, sweet red peppers, and optional celery and carrots in olive oil, one or two vegetables at a time, and set aside. Saute the garlic and hot pepper and add to the vegetables.
3) Clean the pan if needed, and sauté the lamb shanks in more olive oil until lightly browned.
4) To the lamb shanks, add the vegetables, tomatoes, stock, wine, olives and fennel seed.
5) Cover and bake for about 2 hours, adjusting the heat so the liquid is bubbling gently. Remove the cover, and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the shanks are very tender.
6) Remove the vegetables and shanks, and set aside. Degrease the braising liquid if necessary. Add the oregano and thyme, and cook over high heat until the liquid forms a light sauce. Return all ingredients to the sauce.
7) Serve in large soup bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with gremolata.
Serves 4. Note: This recipe expands easily to feed a crowd.