I love cooking with my family friends, Gary and Lynn. I think sometimes however I come across as indifferent, or not thankful enough. In reality, I’m completely stoked when I’m invited to cook with them. Cooking with Gary isn’t just throwing a hodgepodge of ingredients together in a hot oven. It really is pure creativity. Whereas most people would religiously follow the directions printed before them, he’s able to think outside of the words and create something truly genius (and absolutely delicious).
At the same time though, it’s intimidating. Here I am, standing before the risotto master and human food dictionary, with years of food knowledge under his belt.
My talent? I can eyeball out a teaspoon. Yippee.
As a result I start doing some really stupid things. Things that, in my own kitchen, I would never be dumb enough to do. Stock splattering, knives banging around, generally just making a mess, the list goes on and on.
However, if being with them has taught me anything, it’s that you do not need to be blood related to be family. I’m looking forward to the adventures at the asparagus farm, the farmer’s market, and any other knowledge they’d wish to share with me.
That, and all the tasty creations.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 dry bay leaf
- 2 whole cloves
- Kitchen twine, for bouquet garni and tying the veal shanks
- 3 whole lamb shanks (about 1 pound per shank), trimmed
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- All purpose flour, for dredging
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 small carrot, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 stalk celery, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Place the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and cloves into cheesecloth and secure with twine. This will be your bouquet garni.
For the lamb shanks, pat dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Lamb shanks will brown better when they are dry. Secure the meat to the bone with the kitchen twine. Season each shank with salt and freshly ground pepper. Dredge the shanks in flour, shaking off excess.
In a large Dutch oven pot, heat vegetable oil until smoking. Add tied lamb shanks to the hot pan and brown all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove browned shanks and reserve.
In the same pot, add the onion, carrot and celery. Season with salt at this point to help draw out the moisture from the vegetables. Saute until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Return browned shanks to the pan and add the white wine and reduce liquid by half, about 5 minutes. Add the bouquet garni and 2 cups of the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Check every 15 minutes, turning shanks and adding more chicken stock as necessary. The level of cooking liquid should always be about 3/4 the way up the shank.
Carefully remove the cooked shanks from the pot and place in decorative serving platter. Cut off the kitchen twine and discard.
Remove and discard bouquet garni from the pot.
Pour all the juices and sauce from the pot over the shanks. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon zest.