Braised lamb shanks are a favorite comfort food of mine. A well cooked shank is tender and succulent, never tough or dry. Normally when braising I reach for my dried mushrooms and a bottle of red wine, this time I thought I'd try something different.
I had one kinda sad looking eggplant in my fridge, and some fenugreek in my spice cabinet. Eggplant as not something I really wanted to braise, so I gave them a good coating of salt and let them drain, hoping to remove some of the bitterness that's present in eggplants.
Braising a lamb shank is like braising anything else. Give it a good sear followed by some solid cooking liquid and you're guaranteed favorable results.
I seared the shanks, then added some diced onion and cloves of garlic to the pan. Always remember to scrape up the leftover bits of meat after searing. That's the good stuff.
The braising liquid I used was stock, seasoned with fenugreek, black pepper, cinnamon and cayenne. The liquid goes over the shanks and onion/garlic mix, then in the oven at 325 degrees for an hour or two.
After 2 hours in the oven.
When the shanks are fork tender I removed them, then strained and reduced the cooking liquid. By this time the eggplant were looking wilted and wet from the salt - I dried them with paper towel and seared in them in olive oil until golden.
When the cooking liquid looked thick enough the shanks went back in to warm up. Then it was dinner. Lamb shanks on top of rice with toasted almonds. My sauteed eggplant ended up being more of a garnish on top - but were nice and crisp with a little sweetness.
Bones worth sucking on.
My favorite part of lamb shanks is once you've finished the meat, the bones still have little gelatinous bits of tendon clinging to them. Knives and forks don't really work, so you just need to pick it up and knaw on it. Lamb shanks always make me feel like a seriously classy caveman.